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december, 2019

09dec6:15 pmFeminist Media(tions)//Performing the Goddess: The Chapal Bhaduri Story


Event Details

Feminist Media(tions)

Performing the Goddess: The Chapal Bhaduri Story

with filmmaker Naveen Kishore and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak

cosponsored by Global Cultural Studies

Chapal Bhaduri, alias Chapal Rani or Queen Chapal, leading lady of Bengal’s traditional folk travelling theatre-in-the-round—the jatra—spent his life playing women. Feeling like a woman. Until history changed tradition and women began to play female roles themselves. Out of work, ageing, he turned to a new livelihood: that of playing Sitala, the poor person’s dreaded goddess of pox and disease, in dramatized performances of the goddess’s sacred saga.

This intimate video biography brings you face to face with a unique individual, reminiscing about the world of the Jatra, discussing what it means to become a woman night after night, talking for the first time of the woman inside his male body, of troubled sexuality, of a long domestic partnership with his older lover, of the essential loneliness of living as a human being on the edges of conventional society—and showing how he metamorphoses into the goddess in order to perform her story.

In-depth interviews, extracts from milestone fragments of Jatra plays, the make-up process that metamorphoses a man into a woman into a goddess, and documentation of the play on the goddess, provide you with a rare entry into an unusual world, and a close look at Chapal Bhaduri’s life and work.

A film by The Seagull Foundation for the Arts

44 mins. Colour. English subtitles.


(Monday) 6:15 pm


IRWGS Seminar Room, 754 Schermerhorn Ext


The Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality is the locus of interdisciplinary feminist and queer scholarship and teaching at Columbia University.

Columbia University
Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality

1200 Amsterdam Ave
763 Schermerhorn Extension, MC 5508
New York, NY 10027