Lavani has ruled the stage in many parts of Maharashtra over centuries. It is a form of song and dance that entertains the audience, engages them and makes them an integral part of the performance.
Traditionally it is performed in two set-ups – Tamasha and Sangeet Bari. The former is all-inclusive, folk based form while the latter is more intimate and personalised art form.
Gender and sexuality have always played a pivotal role in lavani. Sringar (eroticism) is the dominant rasa (theme, element) in lavani. Lavani also aims at commenting on socially relevant topics using ‘Hasya’ (humour) rasa. Lavani deals with the subjects in a direct and unabashed style. It is interesting to know that lavani is written by men, for the entertainment of men but performed by women. When a woman performs these words, she makes them her own and lavani becomes a powerful expression of empowered women.
Tamasha, originally had an all-male caste, some of whom would dress up as women and perform lavani. This tradition died after women started performing in Tamasha a century ago. In 2001, Mumbai saw a new trend in the world of lavani, with the launch of an all-male lavani show titled ‘Bin Baykancha Tamasha – tamasha without women’. This was their attempt to revive the old tradition while giving a way to exploring their own femininity through lavani.
The fact that people enjoy performance of male artists equally, clearly challenges the uni-directional notion about lavani and adds different layers to the performance.
‘Lavani Queens’ has a mix of male and female artists who would perform on various new and old lavani songs. We aim to give the audience a fun-filled evening and showcase a gender fluid, all inclusive, modern face of lavani which is not fully explored.