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‘Thoda Dhyan Se’ - Mallika Taneja’s bold protest solo-act performance in Australia

Mallika Taneja Source: Mallika Taneja

The 2012, Delhi gang rape prompted the young actress from Delhi, Mallika Taneja, to create a performance that uses facts to highlight violence against women in India.

The 2012, Delhi gang rape prompted the young actress from Delhi, Mallika Taneja, to create a performance that uses facts to highlight violence against women in India.

A woman pays respect on the second anniversary of the deadly gang rape of a student on a bus in New Delhi. The case sparked public outrage and helped make women’s safety a common topic of conversation
A woman pays respect on the second anniversary of the deadly gang rape of a student on a bus in New Delhi.
AP

Thoda Dyan Se – a solo-act performance came into life in 2013.

“The performance debunks many superficial and stupid justifications of those crimes,” says Mallika.

Mallika is a well-known member of New Delhi's arts and cultural scene.

She is an actress, member of the theatre collective Tadpole Repertory, and also the founder and curator of the cultural festival - Lost & Found.

Since 2013, Mallika through her scathing and witty performance - Thoda Dyan Se – has cut right to the heart of the absurdity of recommendations often given to women in India.

mallika taneja
mallika taneja
mallika taneja

She begins her monologue about the Indian society’s expectations from girls about 'dressing properly.

 “Caution is central to a woman's experience of life in India. It is prescribed, imbibed and practiced with rigour, so that women can be safe,” adds Mallika.

Mallika plays a young girl who is dressing up as she chats about what women should wear to avoid the wrong kind of attention.

She says “Some of the monologue is just the ridiculous advice which masquerades as common sense.”

“Thoda Dhyan Se is a satirical piece that challenges this notion of safety. I expose the contradictions at the heart of India's stunted social progress,” she adds 

Mallika is known for her interaction with the audience during and after her performance.

“The audience never have any problems or objects to my act, it is the media or people with power that are easily offended,” says Mallika.

“It is risky to do such a performance. But each time I perform this act, I am surprised at how receptive the people are. I have never faced hostility from any audience. And the more I perform, the more acceptance I get from audiences all over," she adds.

Thoda Dhyan Se is funny as well as a bold play.

Thoda Dhyan Se has travelled Delhi, Jaipur and Zurich.

It will be performed in Melbourne at the WOW - Women of the World Festival.

This three-day festival of critical conversations, music, film and performance, celebrates women and takes an in-depth look at the remaining challenges to gender equality.

To know more about Thoda Dhyan Se, listen to Amit Sarwal’s conversation with Mallika Taneja.