Yaariyan, a LGBT youth based initiative has hosted several events in Mumbai for the Queer community at large in the last couple of years. Ranging from Film Screenings, LGBT family meet-ups, Gulabi Mela, and variety of workshops. But this year to mark their 5th anniversary, they promise to present us with the mother of all theme parties – Mujre Ki Raat.
Gaysi Family spoke to one of the main organisers of this Nawabi Mehfil and some of the performers taking the stage, to give you a glimpse of the fabulous evening that simply cannot be missed.
Behind the stage : Richa Vashista
Q. A bit about yourself & association with Yaariyan.
The Humsafar Trust is a community based organization of sexual minorities in Mumbai, India reaching out to 9000 men who have sex with men and transgender people (MSM/TG) providing prevention, care, support and treatment services. At Humsafar, I work as a Clinic and Counseling Head mainly providing mental health counseling. Me being a part of the youth, am a part of Yaariyan which is a youth initiative to facilitate the LGBT youth’s access to services such as a safe space for discussion, health care, mental health, etc. Yaariyan organizes various events and Mujre Ki Raat is one such upcoming event.
Q. Connection between Mujra & Queer culture?
India’s rich history is filled with the presence of LGBTQ persons. Perhaps nowhere is this more apparent than in the court culture of the Mughals. The kathak dance form made popular in the courts of the Mughal emperors, combines the mellifluousness of Urdu and Hindi lyrical traditions with the beauty of Hindustani classical music. These electrifying performances embody the rich history of Indian cultural forms. Hijras, the community of trans persons that the Humsafar Trust, in addition to many other NGOs, serves were born out of the Mughal era and court tradition. We envision putting on an evening that will recreate some of the splendour of the Mughal court and the world of classical dance, which is ubiquitous in India, as a way to broach a broader conversation about the history of transgender identities in India as well as their contributions to Indian history.
Q. According to you, what is the highlight of Mujre Ki Raat?
Mujre Ki Raat is going to be a night full of Queer Histories. We will have performances from the Transgender community as a way to celebrate and talk openly about their legacy in India. Post the performances, the floor will be open to everyone to dance.
The trained dancer from Goa : Gautam
Q. A bit about yourself.
I am 34 years old and have been working in the medical field as a medical officer in Goa. I have done a year in Shiamak Davar classes and I am also a trained classical dancer. I also attend regular dance workshops in Goa.
Q. Is this your first live performance in front of a big crowd?
Humsafar Trust’s Annual Day was my first live performance (crossdressed) but performing for Mujra night is equally or more exciting !
Q. Tell us a bit about your preparation for Mujre Ki Raat.
Its been 3 months since I have been preparing for this event. I usually do a detailed check of all the costumes and accessories beforehand to avoid last min panics. The journey of this three months has been wonderful as I have learnt a lot in dance as well as explored myself and pushed boundaries so I leave no stone unturned to give my best. Excitement is building up as there are a lot of expectations and I hope all of us rock the show and rock the floor
The very popular : Urmi Jadhav
Q. A bit about yourself.
My name is Urmi Jadhav, working as a Research Assistant and TG/Hijra Point person in Humsafar Trust since last 15 years. I am one of the founding member of ‘Dancing Queen’ and also a dancer and a choreographer. My hobbies are cooking, listening to old songs, dancing and travelling. To my credit I have done a lot of documentaries, short movies and photo shoots.
Q. What aspect of a Mujra performance entices you the most?
Mujra started from Lucknow and Hyderabad and is one of the dance form of Kathak which was used for the entertainment of the Nawab and trained to captivate men of wealth and taste. What entices me are the beautiful bright costumes and jewellery, the dance style of mujra, the gentle and soft gestures made by hand, eyes and face and the environment where Mujra is performed (i.e. huge and colourful chandelier, candle stands and carpets).
Q. Tell us a bit about your act.
The song on which I am performing is one of the iconic numbers among Mujra. It is the famous song from the movie Umrao Jaan (1981) starring legendary actress Rekha and Farooq Shaikh. I am excited as it’s a beautiful romantic song that is as iconic as it can get!
“Kahe saiya teree meree bat bane nahee, Sautan kanne kya hai jo mere kanne nahee” sang by Alka Yagnik and Kavita Krishnamurthy, choreographed by Saroj Khan from the movie Dayavan (1988) is my other Mujra dance performance. Its a teasing duet Mujra performance where my friend Madhuri and I will be performing together.