Calendar Call

Vidya Pai

Thirteen Bangalore-based women pose as characters from popular culture for a first-of-its-kind drag king calendar

During one of their meetings, members of the Bangalore-based social group for the queer, We're Here and Queer, were brainstorming on what they'd like to contribute to the upcoming Queer Pride: Bangalore 2012 festival. Discussion veered to a recent photo project by photographer Indu Antony, titled Bitch Please!, which had queer men dressed in drag. The women then realised that a role reversal would make for an exciting as well as a unique project.

"All of us ran with the idea of dressing up as a man. We then decided that by adopting various personae from popular culture, the project will become far more accessible and fun," recounts Rohini Venkatesh Malur, the group's facilitator. The idea of doing it as a calendar instead of a photo exhibition ensured that the audience association with it wouldn't end with one viewing. The project was then titled MAN i FEST.

In all, there are photographs of 13 girls in drag one on the cover while each of the remaining adorns the page dedicated to a different month of the year. Some of the characters that made it to the final list include Tom Cruise's Maverick in Top Gun, Quick Gun Murugun, Chulbul Pandey of Dabangg, Zorro, Superman and Alex the coconut seller in Channel V's show Lola Kutty.

Earlier, the team planned to shoot in Antony's studio, but they soon realised that taking it outdoors to a setting suitable to each get-up would do justice to the photographs. However, Antony had other concerns. "Crowds can gather in such situations and people can get rowdy with girls, especially in such get-ups," she explains. Eventually, Antony relented and they spent a few days scouting for locations and brought on board a make-up artiste who could facilitate the transformation. "The idea of doing drag was exciting for each of us, especially since the sexuality of a man is quite close to where we find ourselves. This, therefore, was an opportunity to play it out too," explains Vidya Pai, who donned a uniform and drove a white gypsy to enact Chulbul Pandey.

... contd.

Please read our terms of use before posting comments
TERMS OF USE: The views expressed in comments published on indianexpress.com are those of the comment writer's alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of The Indian Express Group or its staff. Comments are automatically posted live; however, indianexpress.com reserves the right to take it down at any time. We also reserve the right not to publish comments that are abusive, obscene, inflammatory, derogatory or defamatory.