Meet the Revolutionaries of Kranti, via the Laal Batti Express
The story of Laal Batti Express started in around 2013 when Mumbai-based NGO Kranti decided to venture into theatre, powered by the individual stories of young girls from Mumbai’s red-light area, mostly daughters of sex-workers and survivors of trafficking. The production portrays the personal stories of these girls, who themselves have written the scripts and acted them out.
Robin Chaurasiya, the co-founder of Kranti, an organisation that aims to empower women from Mumbai’s red-light area, says, “Back when we started, the play was more about empowerment, and also about the problems that their community faced, the things that they struggle with and how citizens might be able to change or improve the situation for them. Now that the girls are older and have had more experiences, they talk about their journey of healing and therapy, and encourage the viewers to share their stories as well, so that they can heal together.”Since its inception, the play has travelled to many cities like New York, Geneva and Brussels, been staged in the headquarters of Google and Facebook, and also festivals in India like the Kala Ghoda Festival. This week, it comes to Chennai for the first time, as a part of the International Kindness Festival, organised by The Kindness Project.
Mahima Poddar, the founder, tells us why she chose this play, saying, “It brings into the spotlight the experiences of young girls who have survived their past and have rallied with the help of Kranti NGO, and are in pursuit of happiness. Although a very new concept for the Chennai audience, their stories will help change the perception created about the lives of those from the red light district. Since it inspires us and expands our perception of inclusivity and discrimination, it is at the heart of our philosophies, because we try to inculcate and cultivate kindness, empathy and compassion in the common man.”
With around 80 per cent dialogues in English and the rest in Hindi, the play follows an interactive approach. “It’s more like a story-sharing kind of experience,” says Robin. She adds, “The actors will either invite people on the stage to play a game with them or go out into the audience to ask questions, things like that.”
At Sir Mutha Hall. January 11. 7 pm. Tickets available online.