A while back, Nandita Das, along with other actors, featured in a one-minute video on the rise in domestic violence cases during the lockdown and urged people to report such cases around them. Das says that the health pandemic gave way to the shadow pandemic in no time. “We didn’t realise that ‘Stay home, stay safe’ would be a luxury. But the irony of it should not be lost on us as many women battle the situation in their homes. Many are locked down with their perpetrator, with no escape,” she says.
The director-actor says that it’s our responsibility to help those undergoing trauma. She says, “There are many credible organisations working with victims of domestic violence during these times, offering resources, support and counselling services. We should contribute and donate as much as we can to them. We also need to look around us — our house help, friends, family — and look for the signs, be good listeners and give the victims the confidence that they will be heard.”
A popular name in the world of theatre, Das is happy with the latest trend of plays are making their presence felt on the virtual medium. She opines, “It’s a different experience than being in an auditorium and not necessarily a worse one. It’s just different. Many say that theatre is deeply connected to audience responses and is an experiential form. All true, but so many great plays haven’t been documented and we’ve all missed out on watching them. I wish all the great plays were available online to watch.”
The Manto (2018) director says that with the changing times, one needs to let art branch out across new mediums. “There’s no point being puritanical. During this time, many museums have opened up their collections and many cultural organizations have made their archives available online. Several art institutions are also reinventing themselves, seeing how they can share their work and keep the audiences engaged with online theatre, music and dance,” she signs off.