Dallas — North Texas has the seventh largest South Asian population in the U.S., so it’s no wonder that there are a number of arts organizations dedicated to producing and presenting performances for communities from the Indian subcontinent, such as the Indian Classical Music Circle, ThinkIndia! Foundation and Indique Dance Company.
Add to this list the Dallas Indian Arts Collective (DIAC), the brainchild of Jitin Hingorani, who started the Dallas South Asian Film Festival five years ago, and handicraft artist and entrepreneur Anu Agarwal. The non-profit organization debuts on Thursday, June 14, with an imported production of the musical play Three Women by writer and singer Isheeta Ganguly. The show will have one performance at the Greenhill School’s Marshall Family Performing Arts Center in Addison.
“[DIAC] will be multi-disciplinary, ranging from theater, literature to dance and music,” Agarwal says. “My background is more in Indian handicraft; I work at a grassroots level with students. Moving forward we will be a little more structured, then in a year, we’ll do visual art exhibits, including photographer, painting, and whatever else.”
Those plans including a new home, which is being renovated from a warehouse in the growing Dallas Design District. The space, planned to open in the fall, will feature a theater space with 300 seats and an art gallery. The first exhibit will feature photography from local South Asian photographers.
“After four successful film festivals, we believed that Dallas was thirsty for more art from India to come to our city,” says Hingorani. “Like with film, there’s a void with theater and the arts. We want to bring in different types of performance, whether that be dance, a book launch, or a play.”
Three Women is described as a “satirical spin on the lives of three of Rabindranath Tagore's women, then and now!”
Tagore, born in present-day Bangladesh in 1861, is one of the subcontinent’s best-known poets and writers. He wrote novels, plays and songs—both the Indian and Bangladesh national anthems are by him. In 1913, he became the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Isheeta Ganguly’s play takes three women from Tagore’s life and his writings, and puts them in their own work together. This production is a tour that originated in India and also has U.S. stops in Chicago and New York. The show is performed in English, but there are songs in Bengali, performed by the cast, with a live band.
“This play is about women’s empowerment and women’s identity, which is relevant then and today,” Agarwal says.
Three women stars Avantika Akerkar, Mahima Saigal and Zayn Khan, and features actress and model Pooja Kumar as narrator.