Drag Open Mic Night @ Bottle and Glass, Indiranagar
Drag is probably the most misunderstood version of popular entertainment in modern India. This is primarily due to the state of affairs where Section 377 demonizes alternative lifestyle leading to harsh judgement across the country. Another reason is also due to popular media portraying drag and its exponents as mere forms of cheap and vulgar entertainment without delving deeper into its background concept.
Adam Pasha, my friend and Bangalore’s first drag queen hails from a mixed upbringing where being Gay was not accepted and hence struggle was, and is his middle name. But Adam has been very successful to turn his life around with his unique presence and individuality and “cocky” sense of humour. I agree he can be shocking at the first impression, but if you know him is a sweetheart who is only striving to make his presence felt in a very formidable world.
I was invited to cover Adam’s premier event “Drag Mic Night” at Bottle and Glass, Indiranagar where a bunch of stand-up comedians were debuting for the first time with their content. Adam is the brain and the compere of the event. Only this time, he is reincarnated as Express Zara, his Drag Avatar with a kick-ass sense of humour, fashion and talent all wrapped into one. The newbies were given a platform to explore their talent with stand-up comedy and with the turnout I witnessed on a Monday night was beyond impressive to say the least.
The comedians were a bunch of young dynamic professionals working in Bangalore and exuberated fresh vibes with their respective pieces, but it was Adam’s unique presence and humour which kept the show going. His sequin long gown in Cherry Red with matching make up from Sandeep Gowda, Bangalore’s ace makeup artist and the 6 + inches stiletto was the ultimate showstopper which the audience could never get enough of. I was able to capture a few candid moments with him and also some with the fellow invitees and friends.
Adam’s rendition of “I will survive”, the Gloria Gaynor original added new dimension and soared the tempo of the evening to new heights. Bangalore has never seen a performance so full of energy and vitality before. Having trained at Calypso, Bangkok which also happens to be the venue where I witnessed my first ever drag performance, the elegance and class spoke for itself. The split in the end was just a jewel in the crown, which much to his dismay needs special mention here. This is because Drag to me is not a mere impersonation, but also a reflection of the true felicity inside the individual and an embodiment of the same with a famous personality. True authenticity is often missing in most drag performances in India, but Adam’s performance proved otherwise and left every soul happy and content.
Drag Mic Night will be back next Monday at Bottle and Glass with a fresh bunch of Comedians to entertain and drive your Monday blues away.