Hyderabadi behind India’s first virtual space for drag

Expressionist performer, dancer, Hyderabad-based Patruni Chidananda Sastry talks on Drag Vanti, his dream project which would serve as an online channel which shares, engages, talks and propagates drag, a blog specifically designed for drag, by drag and to drag performers…

I started drag last year on June 9, it’s been a wonderful year since my initial journey. I got a lot of warmth and love when I started drag in the city and has also helped me to explore multiple venues. Drag gave me an opportunity to participate across cities and interact with a lot of drag queens around the world.  In Hyderabad, my city has also welcomed me to cherish my persona with a lot of love and warmth.

This year has been tough for a lot of drag performers around the world sticking to their homes. While the world is fighting with a deadly pandemic, there is hardly any space for drag queens to come and share their craft. Indian entertainment industry which is predominantly dominated by Movies followed by other craft such as Music, Dance and theater has little space for showcase content on Drag. While the west has more than a thousand platforms, there is hardly any which brings the insights on art of drag into the frontline.  And even they are, South Asia drag artists are always being under-represented.

With keeping all these social and economic changes in mind I wanted to create a space exclusively for drag. A space where we get news, interviews, articles, memes, quotes and knowledge on Indian approach to drag. This Idea gave birth to my baby “Drag Vanti”, an online virtual space for a desi drag queens, kings and performers. It also serves as a channel to give information of the cultural and ethnic drag art form practices within India and how the version of Indian drag is different from what the world sees drag as.

I created this open space with an idea to bring drag culture in India appropriate attention as equally provided to all the other art forms. Drag Vanti is a virtual website where young and aspiring drag performers can find all the information they need to harness the art. Drag Vanti is created with a vision to have more conversation on the art of drag and create a community while sharing stories and newsletters with the diverse Indian drag community.

With Drag Vanti, I want to give back all the warmth and love I have been receiving and believe it will create a unique community within drag performers. Drag Vanti also hosts a wide range of Interactive spaces where fellow drag queens can join and have discussions and debates in forums and groups. They would also be able to create a profile which serves as a portfolio of their work. Drag Vanti contains a Dictionary of all the Drag slangs and terminologies used with an additional vocabulary of “Indian drag terms”. Drag Vanti also has a Directory of all the drag performers, artists, makeup artists, drag clubs and spaces listed for bringing in more collaboration, curation, partnership and presentation within the community.

I am happy that Drag Vanti serves as India’s First Exclusive Drag Site with an online quarterly e magazine titled “Drag Vanti” to be launched by drag and for drag performers. 

Drag Vanti on YouTube can be found here

(As told to Srivathsan Nadadhur for Riaan TV)

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