Unveiling the Real Stories Behind Maharashtra's Traditional Art, Lavani

Lavani, the traditional song and dance form of Maharashtra, has long captivated audiences with its vibrant energy, rhythmic movements, and unabashed expression of sensuality. Yet, despite its popularity, Lavani and the women who perform it have often been misrepresented in mainstream media, relegated to stereotypes of victims or villains. Their rich cultural heritage, matriarchal traditions, and the complexities of their lives remain largely unknown.

In an effort to shed light on the real stories behind Lavani and its performers, a grand Lavani Festival is set to take place at Mumbai’s iconic Prithvi Theatre on April 26, 2024. This event promises to be a celebration of Lavani as an art form and a tribute to the lives of Lavani artists.

The festival will kick off with a day-long Photo Exhibition, offering attendees a glimpse into the world of Lavani through captivating visuals. Admission to the exhibition is free, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the vibrant colors and rich history of this traditional art form.

For those interested in experiencing Lavani firsthand, a teaser Lavani Workshop will also be held, providing participants with a taste of the rhythmic movements and expressive gestures that define the dance. Led by experienced Lavani performers, the workshop offers a unique opportunity to learn about the art form from the experts themselves.

The highlight of the festival will be two full-length live shows: Lavani Ke Rang at 5 pm and Love & Lavani at 8 pm. These performances, written and directed by Bhushan Korgaonkar, explore Lavani both as an art form and as a reflection of real-life experiences.

Lavani Ke Rang delves into the various shades of Lavani, showcasing its vibrant energy and captivating rhythms. Meanwhile, Love & Lavani tells the poignant love story of Lavani legend Shabanabai Ashturkar, offering audiences a glimpse into the lives of Lavani performers beyond the stage.

The performances feature a talented ensemble cast, including traditional Lavani artists Shakuntalabai Nagarkar (65), Pushpa Satarkar (51), Gauri Jadhav (39), and Gita Waikar (35), whose mastery of the art form brings authenticity and depth to the stage.

Adding a modern twist to the traditional art form is Akshay Malvankar (25), a performer from an urban background who has embraced Lavani as both a passion and a profession. Dressed in traditional attire, Akshay’s dedication to the art form exemplifies the cross-cultural appeal of Lavani.

The Lavani Festival promises to be a celebration of Maharashtra’s rich cultural heritage, showcasing the beauty and complexity of Lavani as an art form and as a reflection of real life. With its diverse audience and universal themes, Lavani transcends boundaries of language, age, and social background, uniting people in a shared appreciation for this timeless tradition.

M Fahim
Written by

M Fahim

Ace Lensman and Endearing Human. When you spend 24 years behind the camera, the lens becomes but an extension of the eye. That is what happened with M. Fahim, a well-known name in the glamor photography who has carved a niche for himself in this particular realm. Those close enough to Fahim know him as a passionate lensman who has been bestowed with an eye for good and beautiful things, a mark of connoisseur in every sense.