Dance & Drama: Gulabijan

Gandharvi Troupe
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Gulabijaan, conceptualized by Shukla Banerjee, is a fusion of live music, drama, and dance drama based on the courtesans of Awadh. Story of a powerful women community of the 19th century, their contributions, and their decline during the British annexation of Awadh. A lost episode.

Gulabijaan attempts to illuminate moth eaten pages of the history of courtesans of Lucknow. She brings to light their transformation from persons of artistic and aesthetic magnificence to mere concubine and their subsequent migration out of Lucknow, as the history of Lucknow evolves. The drama pays tribute to their contribution towards the struggle for India's independence during the sepoy mutiny, 1857. Gulabijaan is certainly a mehfil of life in which one will experience love, betrayal, aristocracy, kathak, thungri, ghazal, saffron scented betel leaf covered in silver tabak and ... the darkness prevailing under the glittering veil of a tawaif.

The dance drama depicts the genesis and evolution of the courtesans of Awadh, through the story of Gulabijaan, a courtesan from Lucknow who eventually moves to Kolkata and became Baiji. She recollects her journey and the history she witnessed through songs and drama.