Photo Project: Meeting S.A.S.: Metamorphic Reality by Raqeeb

Original work of

About Raqeeb: I am a research scholar of English Literature who tends to spend most of his time following his passion for photography and writing. I aim to bring a change in the way male sexuality is perceived by the mainstream. Also, love over hate, anyday.

Making / Prologue to Performance

It was a late winter night when I met Patruni for a shoot, and I was not too sure about the whole shoot because this was the first time I was going to photograph someone in drag. I had always been ignorant of the drag aspect, and as a loner/asocial person, I never really liked parties. I had heard about drag nights and whatnot in elite circles, and it was honestly inaccessible for a student like me. But, when Patruni called himself and told me that he is interested in being photographed, I was shocked. I thought for a few moments before agreeing to it. Anyhow, we started with a general conversation about drag culture and how inaccessible it is for some people, and we agreed to a lot of things. Our common interest in folk art forms, classical Indian music and dance also made us comfortable with each other. As we started our conversation on how and why he performs the tranimal form of drag, he transcended from classical Indian dance to popular culture, from classical forms of impersonations to modern notions of drag; however, I never expected it to be an introduction to performance aesthetics and its various manifestations in the socio-cultural fabric of a nation so old. While getting dressed in the drag format, Patruni told me about how he saw Guru Smt. Chitra Visweswaran’s performance and how it influenced him. He notes, “One thing which always fascinated me was the Tradition of Vashem or StriVesham. As we see in sampradaya Kuchipudi, Kathakali and Yakshaganam. However, this transformation of identity in the west was called Drag. Literally abbreviated as Dress Resembling a Girl, which soon turned its definition as Dress Resembling a Gender”.