भागी हुई लड़कियां (Bhagi Hui Ladkiyan)

It felt like I was gradually being brought into the narrative. At first they were just stories, and then they became more and more relatable, causing me to start introspecting into my own life, और फिर, वो कहानी जो शुरू में उस किरदार की थी , अपने introspection के through आप धीरे धीरे उस कहानी से और जुड़ते जाते हैं, और अंत में आप उस स्पेस में पहुंच जाते हैं जहाँ आप भी उस कहानी में खुद को एक किरदार महसूस कर सकते है (and then those stories, which at first belonged to the characters, I started a connection with them. I was led into a process of introspection, and I was slowly started experiencing myself as one of the characters.)

— An audience member

First commissioned by Gender Bender in 2016 ( supported by Goethe Institute Bangalore and Sandbox Collective), Bhagi Hui Ladkiyan has been a landmark performance for Aagaaz. As a gripping piece of testimonial theatre, the performance has adapted itself, and evolved with the journeys of its actors, through their own changing lives, discoveries, challenges, and stories.

Through the use of physical objects, theatre, and cartography, the actors take the audiences into their exploration of gender and sexuality in their lives, and into their exploration of self.

When Bhagi Hui Ladkiyan began in 2016, it was a 15 minute long piece with two actors, a 14 year old Jasmine, and a 16 year old Nagina, two young girls from Nizamuddin, opening important conversations around discriminatory social structures through their narratives. They were later joined by Zainab and Naghma, and since, they have all grown older, their lives and experiences have changed, their contexts and struggles have changed, and the play has changed with them, but they have continued to open more and more conversations through their journey of self discovery. Conversations around ‘Who I am’, and ‘How people perceive me’. Conversations around how gender and sexuality define our everyday experiences, and how the same spaces can be both, confining and liberating. Conversations around family, community, expectations, and responsibilities.

Conversations and Questions

Jasmine (actor) says , that ‘मैं जो सवाल कर रही हूँ खुद से, और लोगो से, वो मेरे दायरे खोलता है, दुनिया को ले के, और खुद की ज़िन्दगी को ले के। कभी कभी किसी से ये बाते कह पाने में डर लगता है, पर मुझे लगता है की ज़रूरी है मेरे लिए अपने मन की बात कह पाना, अपने सवाल खुद के और दुनिया के सामने रख पाना।’

Naghma (actor) खुद को लकी मानती है की वो अपनी ज़िन्दगी इस नाटक के ज़रिये लोगो से कह पाती है, और उनसे जुड़ पाती है।

और ज़ैनब (actor) कहती है की इस नाटक को खेलते हुए अक्सर वो खुद को, और अपने आस पास घटने वाली स्थितयों को बेहतर समझ पाती है। ऐसा लगता है की रोज़ अपने ही बारे में वो कुछ नया डिस्कवर कर रही है।

But Nagina (actor) feels that the best part of this play is that it is not bound by a specific narrative only. That the actor’s share their personal narratives, and that those narratives and the contexts are consistently changing, means that individuals stories within the performances can change too. The changing contexts play an active role in how the play has been devised, and through that, each performance may play out very differently.

Last performed in December 2019, the play resonated with, and deeply connected with people everywhere it was performed. And as ‘Bhagi Hui Ladkiya’ prepares to step back on stage after the unfortunate break during the pandemic, in Delhi, Bombay, and Bangalore, the actors are just as excited to explore with their audiences, their new contexts.

Nagina shared that ‘ स्टेज के साथ मेरा रिश्ता हमेशा से बहुत अच्छा था, क्युकी स्टेज एक एनर्जी देता है, मुझे मोटिवेशन मिलती है। कभी कभी डराता भी है, पर कॉन्फिडेंस भी बहुत देता है, की मैं अपनी बाते लोगो तक पंहुचा पाऊँ। ……. इन चार सालों में मेरा एक्सपीरियंस बहुत बदल गया है, मेरे सोचने और समझने के दायरे बदल गए है। इस बीच में खुद के बारे में, अपने शरीर, अपने स्पेस के बारे में भी बहुत कुछ नया पता चला, और इन सब चीज़ो के साथ ये नया प्रोसेस, और उसे ले कर स्टेज पे उतरना मुझे बहुत अच्छा लग रहा है।’

‘इस नाटक के साथ, हर सफर एक नया सफर होता है, क्युकी हर बार कुछ नई कहानिया होती हैं, और हर कहानी के पीछे कई अलग सवाल, और कई अलग डर छुपे होते हैं। और मुझे हर बार ये प्रोसेस थोड़ा उलझाता है , पर मुझे ये भी पता है की भागी हुई लड़कियां में उठने वाले सवाल मेरे अकेले के नहीं हैं। मुझे लगता है सब अपनी कहानी किसी न किसी तरह हमें कहानिया बताते हैं, और इस नाटक के प्रोसेस में वो सवाल और कहानिया कुछ समय के लिए साथ आ जाते हैं।’ — Jasmine

Things have changed drastically since the last time Bhagi Hui Ladkiyan was on stage. The girls have become young women, their lives and experiences have changed, responsibilities and expectations have changed, experiences of structures have changed, and the narratives and the play has changed.

And with all these changes, more conversations and questions have opened up.

We invite you on this new journey, to new conversations, and to our first set of performances of ‘Bhagi Hui Ladkiyan’ this season, on the 21st of October (7.30pm), and 22nd of October (4.30pm & 7.30pm), at LTG Auditorium, Delhi.

Student Discounts are available on all tickets!

Compiled by Jasmine and Pakhi Sinha



An arts based organisation dedicated to creating inclusive learning spaces that nurture curiosity and critical thought while creating safe spaces for dialogue.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Aagaaz Theatre Trust

An arts based organisation dedicated to creating inclusive learning spaces that nurture curiosity and critical thought while creating safe spaces for dialogue.