The leading ladies of Chitrangada!

Updated: Sep 2, 2019

In Rabindranath Tagore's Chitrangada, Princess Chitrangada is raised as a man, as a warrior. Over the course of our story, the events in her life take her through extreme bouts of self-doubt and introspection causing her to question her identity. During this time, she "transforms" into a version that is the polar opposite of her "self".The two awesome artists playing the two Chitrangadas are Tanvee Kale and Anwesha Das!Anwesha is a professional Bharatanatyam dancer with over 21 years of experience. She has performed at prestigious dance festivals such as the Khajuraho Dance Festival and the Taj Mahal Mahotsav. In previous collaborations with Pratidhwani, she has portrayed iconic female characters such as Draupadi (Kingdom of Cards, 2012) and Sita (Ramayana From Her Perspective, 2012). Primarily a solo Bharatanatyam dancer, we are excited to have Anwesha portray Surupa, the alter-ego of Chitrangada who embodies beauty and charm.Tanvee is a software engineer by day, but her evenings - and most of her life - are dedicated to her passion of dance and theater! She has been a mainstay of Pratidhwani since 2009. She led the dance wing for a few years, directed two major dance musicals, and has performed in many dance and drama productions for Pratidhwani. She most notably was one of the leads in the well-received Dance Like a Man (2015) - a previous collaboration between Pratidhwani and ACTLab. Interestingly, Tanvee played the role of Surupa in our 2010 production of Chitrangada and now switches it up by playing Kurupa, the version of Chitrangada that has been brought up as a man, a warrior.We asked them a few questions about their experience!

“... the story and character is relevant today even after 125 years!” - Anwesha “ ... ensuring that each and every audience member feels included - has been super fun, albeit quite challenging” - Tanvee

So, how has the experience been so far!Tanvee: It's been an immensely challenging yet fun experience - challenging because of the effort involved in trying to bring out the essence of the character I am essaying and fun, because it's always fun to dance and be part of a creative process! Was there anything in particular about the roles that made you want to be part of the production?Anwesha: Chitrangada is a beautiful story of a woman who epitomizes feminine power. The character takes pride in her identity as a warrior princess and in her womanhood, as a lover. Her quest for love has both feminine and feminist overtones, which was a revolutionary portrayal of a woman by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore in the 19th century. I believe the story and character is relevant today even after 125 years! When Pratidhwani and ACT decided to showcase Chitrangada, I was eager to be a part of the production - which is a first of its kind in the US!T