Bollywood Divas: Queering Desi Cinema
by Kareem Khubchandani and Anuj Vaidya
An evening of satire, comedy and drop-down drag Bollywood ‘ishtyle’!!
In Khubchandani’s LESSONS IN DRAG, Professor Lahore Vagistan, a drag queen attempting to make it from the Chicago Stage to the Bollywood Screen, educates her classroom about the day’s topic, Fillum. By combining ethnographic interviews, works of fiction by queer South Asian novelists, comedic drag sequences inspired by Bollywood, and improvised audience interaction, Kareem stages the many ways in which film becomes a tool of survival for marginal subjects.
Vaidya’s BAD GIRL WITH A HEART OF GOLD finds the artist in conversation with his own film of the same name. The performance explores the genealogy of the vamp in Bollywood — from her origins in the Jewish stars of early Indian cinema and culminating in the iconic roles of the anglo-Indian actress Helen in the 60s and 70s. The performance weaves many of Helen’s signature roles together to pose the question: Can Helen escape her perpetual death by Bollywood?
Presented in collaboration with the APICC’s United States of Asian America Festival and QCC’s National Queer Arts Festival