Theatre artist Rasika Agashe reveals why women don’t sustain in this exceptional art form

As International Women’s Day is nearing, we spoke to prominent theatre personality Rasika Agashe, one of the few females doing exceptionally well in the field of theatre.

When we say few females it’s because we haven’t seen a lot of women in theatre something which even Rasika herself agrees as she states even in her theatre group there are only handful of females. Ask about the reason behind it and Rasika says, “Due to the lack of money involved, it’s actually difficult to consider theatre as a full-fledged career. Secondly after a certain marriageable age parents don’t support their daughters to work in this field as they always look theatre as a passion or a hobby. Also some parents does not consider it as a good field to work in for their daughters.”

Rasika who was quite content with the work she was doing in Television and film, suddenly felt the urge to start a theatre group after the 2012 Nirbhaya rape case as it made her realise that she needs a platform to voice her opinion, something which she can’t do on other commercial podiums. “In the year 2012, when the Nirbhaya rape case happened suddenly everything around me changed. I wanted to tell something but I knew it I can’t tell that on a commercial platform. That was the time we did a play called Museum of Species in Danger which was inspired by the same rape case. That’s when I realized that if I have to convey my thoughts than I have to direct plays, otherwise I am just a body. With the help of my husband, Zeeshan Ayyub and fellow NSD passouts, I formed Being Association theatre group which will complete 6 years on 6thh March 2019.” said Rasika.

After Museum of Species in Danger, Rasika went on directing renowned plays like Harus Marus, Sat Bhashe Raidas and others to name a few. Her theatre group also organises the Sanhita Manch Theatre Festival, a competition for Hindi playwrights. Rasika also plays a prominent role in upcoming Bollywood film, Mere Pyare Prime Minister.

Still from the play Sat Bhashe Raidas
Still from the play Sat Bhashe Raidas
Still from the play Harus Marus
Still from the play Harus Marus

Coming back to Women’s Day, when we quipped Rasika to describe her feelings of being a woman in the year 2019, all she said that she is amazed to be a one. “I have mixed feelings. Because at one side I am happy when I read women flying a plane but on the other page when I read child marriage and rape, I feel ashamed. I sometime gets confused about my place in this world. ”

Rasika with husband Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub and daughter
Rasika with husband Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub and daughter

Mother of a four year old daughter, when we asked Rasika how easy or difficult it is to work in such a creative and demanding field, she gives credits of her success to husband and Bollywood actor Zeeshan Ayyub who is more feminist than her. “There are a lot of social pressure which comes on you as a women. I am lucky that I am out of many pressures as more than me my husband is a big time feminist. I am lucky and a proud wife that he doesn’t consider that taking care of my daughter or taking care of the house is only my responsibility. Zeeshan considers it as our responsibility,” added Rasika.

While concluding the interview, Rasika also spoke about her upcoming play, ‘Good touch, Bad touch’, which is going to be for four to 10 year old kids and will be held at Prithvi theatre in the month of June. “The general problem is a lot of kids don’t know that what is good touch and what is bad touch. There are many scars which a child go through in his or her childhood. Till today whenever I talk with women, everyone has said that my uncle, my relative has touched me in my childhood, but at that time these women failed to understand that it was a bad touch or a wrong thing. You know it’s also not about where to touch and where not to, it’s about the intention behind the touching of the person even if he is touching your face,” concluded Rasika.

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