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In Conversation With Dipti Mehta

Ranjani Saigal

Dipti was born and brought up in Mumbai. India and is now based in NYC. At a young age of 12 she was discovered by an All India Radio; Program Executive Officer at an elocution competition. She then started hosting shows for the AM section of All India Radio.

In time she became the only Radio Jockey at All India Radio; FM station of Mumbai hosting music shows in both English and Hindi. Around the same time she discovered stage and won numerous accolades in acting at inter-collegiate and state level. She has been a part of theater, TV and film industry in Mumbai.

She has trained for 4 years in North Indian classical music and has received extensive training in Bharatnatyam and Kathak the two distinct classical styles of dancing. She has a Doctorate in Molecular and Cellular Biology and works as a research scientist in the field of prostate cancer.

Dipti is presenting her one woman show "Honor' to spread the message for children in brothels and to raise awareness around social stigma that surrounds these children.

HONOUR: Confessions of a Mumbai Courtesan is a powerful performance coming to Larcom Theater in Beverly on Saturday, October 7 at 4pm.

Can you tell us a little about the show? 

“Memoirs of Geisha” meets “Slumdog Millionaire” in this vibrant award-winning stage show with original music, colors of India and a riveting story that is sure to remind you of Bollywood.  A true experience of India and its magnanimous culture, it comprises of old classic Mahabharata as well as the latest Bollywood references. The audience will experience drama, action, romance, and dance and get a flavor of Indian culture alongside making a difference for trafficking victims. 

Expect an hour of entertainment with dance and storytelling that is sure to engage, entertain and inspire. 

What motivated you to create this show? 

I lived in Mumbai and often took a bus that went by the Red Light districts of Kamatipura. I never got off at those stops but I was also amazed to see the people from the window of my bus. Women were dressed strangely – not well or beautifully but strangely.  There were children there, laughing and playing.  

The whole world sees the world of sex workers in such a negative light. However there was also laughter in those places. There were children in those places living a seemingly happy life. That was an image etched in my mind. 

When I was looking for a theme to perform, I thought of that place and wove a tale around it. 

Can you tell us about ApneAap, the charity you are supporting?

Apne App works to end sex-trafficking by preventing inter-generational prostitution. Apne Aap provides education, legal support, gov’t IDs and access to welfare as well as to income generating programs to at-risk and prostituted women and children.  I really would like to use my art to support this so that we do not have such tales in the future. 

Can you tell us a little about your artistic journey? How did a Cancer researcher become a theater personality? 

I have enjoyed being on stage since a very young age. Being in the theater circles in Mumbai I was able to get some wonderful opportunities. Coming from a rather conservative family I was not quite allowed to consider a career in theater. I came to the US to do my PHD at University of Arizona. I took a variety of classes in dance and theater. My passion for theater never left me. 

I now work part time in a research career and continue to work in theater. 

 Any special message for our audience? 

I hope they will come and see this work. It is the first time the Larson theater has featured a woman of color. The production has powerful content and several light-hearted moments. Come to be entertained. 

I look forward to seeing you all !

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