It all started with an off late conversation. I was talking about how the city of Hyderabad is accepting dance and performance arts and then a friend of mine said: “I wish we had Drag too.”
Drag was something I wanted in my city. I approached a lot of friends regarding this. A friend told me, “If you cannot do it yourself how can you expect others to do it?”
I pondered over this question for a long time. Drag is a performance art where we take a political statement on gender and issues with gender. I wanted my drag to be exclusive and more of performance than entertainment. I want my drag to be anti-beauty, I affirmed I will go the Tranimal Way, and,
I wanted to do it for the city, for underrepresented people and for people from all walks of life.
It was that moment where I decided to go ahead with an exclusive drag event. I reached out to Nirvana Café, a dear friend Bhagi Sravani with the idea of doing Hyderabad Drag Show. I pooled in 3 friends to be my fellow drag performers. In the month on June (the pride month) we decided the date and we had only 3 days for preparation, promotion and propagation. All I expected was not more than 10 people.
As we were preparing, there was a hindrance in between by a homophobic post saying the event is cancelled. We were angry and outrageous. We didn’t lose hope. It was my day, and I turned myself as the “Mohini D ’vi”.
The name Mohini is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, meaning a woman who can attract the world. D ‘vi the first letter adapted from d’vin chi the painter known for his conventional way of expressionism, surrealism in his art and abstract of Devi the goddess. Mohini is a badass, always blunt, always masked, poor, available and a non-beautified figure who has no gender, no caste, no style and all she has is audacity.
Mohini never performs a drag with shoes as shoes are a symbol of class and status.
After, I started a collective club called Hyderabad Drag Club with a vision to lead drag in twin cities. We also did many events and a mega celebration on World Drag day at Nirvana café.
But, Life’s not always smooth, is it?
On a sad note, the only space then which embraced drag was shut and the journey from there was tough for me.
For people, Drag is an unfit art to be presented. Drag Queens are considered sexual, loud, highly dressed, or that they are transgender or crossdressers. Drag queens are performers who just dress in opposite gender clothes to perform.
I thought that proposing drag as an alternative to the music and comedy scenes for clubs and cafes will be the best approach to keep the art running in the city.
We were constantly rejected because of DRAGPHOBIA (yes, it’s a thing). After backlashes, I tried to constantly keep people informed about my style of drag “Tranimal”. I tried to convince and educate people on it.
Deriving from ‘transvestite’ the aim was to create interpretive, animalistic and post-modern interpretations of the ‘drag queen’ and the part of imperfection is a deliberate attempt to look tranimal. We finally approached Hylife. We got the dates and had just one week left. We wanted a premier event for DRAG in Hyderabad and launched “DRAG CON HYDERABAD”.
In one week, we got humongous support. 6 drag performers from all walks of life poured into the scene and we had a blast. Each performance was an epic and all of us together made something special for each of us. It was then I realize the power of drag. That day Mohini was an outburst and made statements with her performance. The performance had songs with messages telling “I am born this way” and “they don’t care about us” making the head thoughts into performance. This event gave back the confidence which I boxed into myself. Gave the courage to be me. Nonetheless, the struggles didn’t end. There is a long way to go but let me remind you “Shantay the drag stays!”
#Drag #Dragcon #LGBT #Fashion #genderfluid #Passion #dragqueen #Queer #dragshow #Stories #Hyderabad #HumansofHyderabad