Title:   Tanashah

Tanashah, a solo by Navtej Johar, explores extremes. Based on the jail diaries of Bhagat Singh, particularly his essay titled, “Why I am an Atheist”, it examines the resolve of a young man to walk to the gallows with searing clarity, un-sublimated by religious doctrine or idealist philosophy. The work attempts to imagine the impending moment of his youthful death that almost seems to embolden him, propel him unto that final moment with fierce veracity. His blazing courage aside, it also draws upon the young revolutionary’s love for poetry and song.

Juxtaposed against this intense narrative of Bhagat Singh, is Johar’s personal journey of being a Sikh Bharatanatyam dancer, and more importantly his affinity with the padam, an amorous song that addresses the ambiguity and impossibility of love.

In Tanashah, both the narratives—the powerful ardour of a revolutionary and the unbridled pukaar or call of the love song--dark, masculine, uncompromising, and almost heckling in nature—are textually and somatically interwoven in anticipation of a poised resolve within poetic-consummation.

Concept, choreography and performance: Navtej Johar
Lighting and Stage Design: Anuj Chopra
Costumes: Diwas Gill
Photography: Anshuman Sen
Vocals: Venkat Satish
Sound Engineer: Deepak Samson
Assistant: Simrat Dugal

Links to interviews, reviews and responses:






Tanashah was commissioned by the Serendipity Arts Festival (SAF), and premiered at Goa, on Dec 16th, 2018


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