“Our mythology is not monolithic”


Mallika Sarabhai is a performer with a purpose. Her practice embraces tradition as much as its critique. A trained Bharatnatyam practitioner, Sarabhai has cast the form to address a range of progressive contemporary subjects such as gender, queer politics, and caste. Aparna of the Indian Cultural Forum spoke to the artiste on her political impetus, views on the current political climate, and creative projects that emphasize the richness, diversity, and importance of evolving mythology through interpretation.

This is Part-I from a three-part series of conversations. Here, Sarabhai speaks of pieces like Shakti: The Power of Women (1989); Draupadi in Peter Brook’s Mahabharata (1984-89), Sita’s Daughters (1990) where heroines from mythological texts are not seen as quietly suffering sacrificial characters, but women with wit, sensuality, and grit.

Also see | Part II of III: “Concerned and Dismayed” and Part III of III: “Nothing about India is Pure”