Rhythm of the city of lights

Joshinder Chaggar and Sunil Shankar gear up for ‘Conversations 2016- a love letter to Karachi’

Our Correspondent April 27, 2016
Chaggar was last seen in the plays The Charmed Ring and The Goat or who is Sylvia. PHOTO: FILE


A closer look at Joshinder Chaggar’s dancing prowess would reveal her natural penchant for movement-based performances. And, after having racked up an impressive portfolio both as an actor and a dancer, she is all set to bring both for another contemporary dance drama, Conversations 2016- a love letter to Karachi.

“It’s a story, an idea explored purely through movement, with perhaps a monologue or two,” Chaggar says about the hour-long performance, which has been co-directed by National Academy of Performing Arts (Napa) alumnus Sunil Shankar.  Conversations, initially performed in 2010 was where Chaggar got her knack for contemporary dance performances and since then all subsequent performances under the ‘Conversations’ title have been its offshoots.

“The 2013 shows took the experimenting a little further. It was a dark exploration of the idea that in every moment we carry the past with us. And this burden stops us from enjoying the present, with the thoughts constantly scattered,” elaborates Chaggar.

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The latest series of performances which are slated to take place at the FTC Auditorium between July 28 and August 14 revolve are termed A love letter to Karachi.“I have experienced a generosity of an unimaginable kind [in this city]. I feel I’m surrounded by warriors, by the most giving and resilient people I have ever met. And because of them I am a changed person and I don’t exactly know when it happened, but I have fallen in love with Karachi,” says Chaggar, who also made a cameo appearance in Moor.

According to her, the play will explore the ‘rhythm of the city’. While the words ‘chaotic’ and ‘unpredictable’ are the first to be associated with the city of lights, the actor aims to project the fun and cheerful side of the metropolis through her performance. “It is never easy for an outsider to enter and attempt to move with the rhythm [of Karachi]. You have to first let go of your judgments and your ego. You have to surrender, before the city can open its arms to embrace you. And this is the beginning of the love affair,” she added.

A common denominator in many of Chaggar’s performance is Sunil Shankar. Given their spate of collaborations including The Charmed Ring and The Goat or who is Sylvia, the two have become partners in crime. And, this time around, Shankar will be joining Chaggar’s latest production not just as co-director but also as an actor.

Although movement is not a genre that Shankar is famous for, Chaggar was full of praise for him, adding, “He’s a brilliant performer, with a background in yoga, gymnastics and sports, which is something most people don’t know about him.”

Given his background and extensive work in experimental productions, Chaggar holds that Shankar’s style was a perfect foil to her own approach to theatre. “He enjoys working with props and technology, whereas my style is at the other end of the minimalist. So it will be interesting to see what we will come up with working together.”

Published in The Express Tribune, April 28th, 2016.

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