‘The Goddess of Hindustan’ follows the lives of different Indian women
Different women, one road… Alex Singh, director of many films focussed on problems faced by women, is coming up with another eye-opener, a play that follows the lives of three women suffering three different lives of pain.
The first life is that of Marjani, a little girl left on the streets when she was a new-born, simply because she was a girl.
The second is that of street beggar Jindha, who loves her like her own daughter and later adopts her. Question is, how long do they sur¬vive on the streets? What treatment do they get from the cops?
Then you have Amrita, whose only dream is to become a doctor. But her innocence and dreams to serve the country are shattered when she becomes the victim of an acid attack.
In another scene, an old woman is ignored by her politician son just because he is too busy with the up¬coming elections. A children’s park becomes her permanent home and by the time her son wins the election and wants to take her back home, it’s too late.
Alex’s play hopes to take its viewers down one road – that of reality, a society where women are abhorred, raped, assaulted, harassed and killed for honour.
“On a trip to India earlier this year, I was shocked to see headlines that talked of five-year-olds being raped just after Delhi gang-rape case. I was devastated. I came back to Melbourne and started writing ‘Goddess of Hindustan’,” says Alex.
“In Melbourne, I read about the rape and murder of a young ABC employee and that is when I realised that it is a global issue and the problem is not within a specific community. I decided to highlight the issue through this production in Melbourne first,” says Alex.
He says that Goddess of Hindustan was a challenge to write and direct because it is based on true events. “The play projects reality and all three social issues portrayed are based on true events, so I have used music as well as comic elements to give it a flavour,” he adds.
“The execution of this play was an even greater challenge, because unlike my films, which are commercial in nature, this was more a tribute to women who suffer pain and abuse. So my first obstacle was funding. As it is a charity event no one I approached was keen on spending on venue hire /costumes/props or any production assets,” says Alex.
To communicate the story more effectively Alex says he has projected the girl child as dumb and has used Jindha to take the story forward. Similarly, the acid at¬tacker narrates Amrita’s dreams. The play does have its share of entertainment like a Bollywood film but it aims to make people think about the real issues that affect women.
The crew includes Gursharan Gill (Bollywood actor/ model); Punnet Gulati (Mr Melbourne 2013); Sunita Sethi (singer, actor and dancer) Param Grewal (actor), Karan Battan (actor), Amrit Dhillon (actor, dancer and presenter), Anu Sabharwal (stage and production manager), Vaugh Mittens (sound designer and musician) and Emma Sky (actor and event organiser).
Alex, who has a post graduate in film production from Murdoch University in Western Austra¬lia and is trained in theatre at Punjab Naatshala, has worked with several Bollywood and Australian directors and producers includ¬ing Dharmesh Darshan (Raja Hindustani, Dhadkan fame) and Sudipto Chaupad¬hya (Pankh movie).
Apart from direction and writing, Alex has worked as production manager, unit head, script consultant and choreographer on various events.
His latest Perth-based film “Eleven Thirty” was screened at the St Kilda Film Festival. His latest flick Maa (The Mother) is creating a buzz at film festivals around the world and is under con¬sideration for public screening by the city of Melbourne at Federation Square.
Alex is also an official member of ADG (Australian Director’s Guild); AFI (Aus¬tralian Film Institute) and MEEA (Member of Media and Arts Alliance).
The money collected from ticket sales will be donated to widowed and poor women through Mata Kaulan Bhalai Kendar. (www.matakaulanjibhalaikendertrust.com).