News in the The Telegraph

Draupadi is a story about marginalised people who are continually oppressed by the powers that be. The protagonist, Draupadi (played by Heisnam Sabitri), an indigenous woman, fights against the atrocities being committed against her tribe. Ultimately, her husband Dulna is arrested and killed by the police. Draupadi, too, falls in their clutches. So what inspired Heisnam Kanhailal to stage Draupadi? “Torture and gang rape by security forces are regularly reported in Manipur. And this has been going on for a long time. We were trying to figure out how to register a powerful protest against this through the medium of theatre. Then, I was given this story of Mahasweta Devi by a friend in November 1999. Immediately, I began working on it and finished adapting it into a play in January 2000.” The play was censored and hasn’t been staged in Imphal since that year, although it has won accolades all over the country. This March, after 14 years, Draupadi will return to the stage in Manipur’s capital.

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