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is based on the autobiography of the actress Binodini, Aamaar Katha, remarkable, as it is one of the earliest 19th century documents by an Indian woman, that describes her coming into public life and having the courage to assert her independence and identity. A prostitute by birth, Binodini was one of the first female actors to walk the boards of the public stage in Kolkata, rising to become one its most successful stars. Staunchly opposed by a class and caste ridden society that was unable to tolerate a 'polluted' woman donning the garb of either a devi/goddess or Brahmin royalty on stage, Binodini was applauded and castigated in turn, making hers a dramatic and complex life, full of heady highs and lows.

NATI BINODINI, 2006, has been performed all over India, and at festivals in Pakistan, Nepal etc. It has won several META awards. It is being performed on Maarch 2nd, 3rd 2011 at Kennedy Cemter, Washington at the Maximum India Festival.

Duration : 1 hr. 30 mins
Hindi with supertitles in English

Cast and Credits
Nati Binodini: Salima Raza, Swaroopa Ghosh, Kusum Haidar, Sonam Kalra, Amita Ailawadi
A-Babu: Vijay Kashyap
Girish Ghosh: Jayanta Das

Scenography & Lighting: Nissar Allana;
Costumes: Amal Allana/Urvashi Bhargava;
Music: Devajit Bandyopadhyay;
Songs Engineering & Sound Design: Kabir Singh;
Music Operation: Divya Malhotra
Choreography: Preeti Vasudevan.
Video Projection: Manish Halder;
Supertitles: Savita Valecha
Set Supervisor: Prem Chand;
Lighting Supervisor: Lal Sahab Mishra

Directed by Amal Allana

Note on Period
With the introduction of photography, the printing press, Western-style proscenium theatre, art schools, and the university education system etc. in the 19th century, there developed in a city like Kolkata, a distinct babu culture where the attempt by the newly emerging middle class was to ape their British colonial masters in all aspects of manners, customs, dress and life-style.
The iconization of the new, Western-style theatre brought forth a breed of foppish babus, trendy biwis, seductive courtesan/actresses… whose images began to proliferate in this new form of popular art that could to be bought for next to nothing off the pavements of Kolkata. Depicted in alien postures and gestures, set against painted backdrops, sitting on Victorian chairs and framed by gorgeous, scalloped curtains, the bazaar painters of Kalighat, were sharp observers of contemporary society who mirrored , with wit, the absurdities arising out of such pseudo imitations that gave rise to a new, hybrid culture.