Back in 2010, choreographer and dance instructor Joshinder Chaggar was not quite as well-known as she is today. While some knew her as a humble rookie of the industry, others viewed her as just another dancer who could act.
However, soon the industry realised her immense potential when she brought forth Pakistan’s first contemporary dance/theatrical drama called Conversations. And while many have been constantly assuming if anything of that calibre will ever happen again, the sequel to the show,Conversations 2, is finally ready to set the stage ablaze.
“Conversations was my first show and it was also a time of self-discovery,” Chaggar tells The Express Tribune. “Through that show I stumbled upon my own personal style. So this time I know exactly what I want and I have tried to dig deeper and make it more personal.”
The first edition was about a bunch of birds and a hilarious cat, who together questioned the complicated mysteries of love, life and bitter truth. “The ‘birds’ aspect of the first show is what I feel was extremely under-explored last time. So this time I only have birds,” says Chaggar. This time around there will be six pigeons, six crows and one other character, who is neither a bird nor human. “She is simply another character’s ‘complex’ that she can’t shake off,” explains Chaggar.
A variety of birds is being used to highlight some rather aggressive, complicated and shady themes, which she has already explored in the first part of the play. This time, she will be taking them to the next level.
The show is divided into episodes. The aspects explored are the ‘body’ complex; a brief diversion to the ‘parent’; a reflection on love and abuse and also the idea of guilt, freedom, being stuck in the past and day dreaming about the future and more — basically a chaos of complexes. “To put it rather simply, it’s about the never-ending conflict between happy and sad thoughts,” she says.
As far as the style of dance is concerned, it will mainly be modern contemporary but this time around, three dancers from the EXD B-Boying group will be joining her in the performance and a routine inspired from Bharatnatyam will also be showcased. “I saw a similarity between the way crows jump and the footwork in classical dance, so I have fused that in the play as well,” elaborates Chaggar.
Popularly known as Josh, the renowned choreographer has been acting for quite some time but dance is something she’s always been noticed for. So this is a way for her to express her emotions about what’s happening around. She believes that we all have a madness that rages inside us but we don’t talk about it. So when you catch a glimpse of it in someone else, it’s almost a relief, that you are not alone. “Through my art I get to ‘talk’ about such stuff, and it’s very healing for me, and I would like to think the same for the audience,” she says.
No matter how many uncharted areas of her psyche and personality Josh might be exploring , in the end the play is catering to a regular-theatre going audience, who might not be able to digest the concept. “The storyline is very dark, inspired by Pina Bausch’s work, but that does not mean it is not entertaining. It is extremely powerful, with some delightful moments that I think would be suitable for children over 13 years,” she emphasises.
Sohaib Lari and Ahsan Bari have composed the music for the show and the cast includes Muhammad Rehman, Khaista Khan, Kashif Hussain, Erum Ero, Heera Dilawar, Vajdaan Shah, Mohammad Ali, Dwayne Lucas, Cyrill James, Hammad Khan, Omi Butt and Joshua Thomas.
The play will commence on August 22 at 8 pm at the National Academy of Performing Arts (Napa) auditorium and will go on till September 1.