Taking into account all my goals and aspirations for this project (strutting my culture, uniquely embodying her in every aspect), I’ve been letting the gears in my head turn in hopes of them producing innovative ideas. Thankfully, my gears have proved themselves functional this time around!
I’m going to focus on my plans for my learning center and my costume in this post, two big aspects that are key in the embodiment of my eminent person. In fact, my costume is very close to being complete! I’m incredibly happy with the way it’s shaping up. The costume is where I really wanted to embrace my culture and “strut” it on stage, showing that I am proud and unapologetic of it. I would post a picture of my costume so far, but I’d rather keep it a surprise for the actual night! I will tell you that it is largely based off of the depiction of Mastani in the movie Bajirao MastaniI. I think the adaptation is absolutely gorgeous, and I want to emulate it as best I can. I’m extremely excited to walk on stage with it on and see everyone’s reactions.
A lot of the elements of the costume I had in mind were already in my possession the way I wanted them to be. Others required a bit more creativity! With the help of my sisters, we were able to apply our knack for resourcefulness and recreate the rest of her outfit with things we already owned! So far, I haven’t had to spend any money on my costume, and I consider that pretty impressive! I may purchase some extra accessories later, however, as well as some things to do with makeup. I forsee my costume fitting the image in my head completely once we put everything together!
Now, onto my visions for my learning center. As I mentioned in my intro post, Bajirao built Mastani her own safe palace called Mastani Mahal – and I intend to recreate it! It’s a daunting task, but taking Mr. Jackson’s advice about how just a few elements can create a great atmosphere, I’m sure I can pull it off! There’s a bigger idea that I’m thinking of implementing into my learning center to almost enhance the speech as well.
The speech, as it is very short and will only zoom in on one moment, will give mainly one dominant impression of Mastani. I’m hoping to showcase her warrior side of her, letting the audience come away with the message that she was truly a brave and fearless soul. In the learning center, however, I want people to be able to see that she had a wonderfully artistic side to her as well. She was a musician, a dancer, a poet. She was highly educated and was highly skilled in literature. She never gave up on her passions, and I want people to know that. It was known that in the Mastani Mahal itself, there were many musical instruments for her pleasure. When I attempt to recreate the Mastani Mahal, I want there to be two sides to it. On one side of the locker bay (which I thankfully got!), there will be items representing her battles. I’m working on finding a sword, shield, and spear for that side of my center. On the other side, there will be items representing her other, more artistic abilities. Scrolls, Indian dancing outfits, and many musical instruments!
I looked into it, and apparently Long & McQuade lets you rent their instruments for a day for the price of $3-$10! I’m hoping to rent a few instruments that look like they could belong to that time period:
I’m hoping these will give a “medieval” look to my learning center, as the time period was Medieval India. I’m really hoping to find some Indian classical instruments as well, but those are much harder and much more expensive to access.
In conclusion, I’m working hard to represent my culture and showcase who Mastani really was in any way I can! Wish me luck!