Ramit Malhotra and Tanvee Kale star in “Devi” at Allen Theatre at ACT. Photo courtesy of Siddhartha Saha Photography

Ramit Malhotra and Tanvee Kale star in “Devi” at Allen Theatre at ACT. Photo courtesy of Siddhartha Saha Photography

Pratidhwani produces ‘Devi’ with Eastside actors

The show will feature actors from Bellevue, Redmond and Kirkland.

Pratidhwani and ACTLab have come together to create an extravaganza of drama, dance and music as they tell the story of “Devi.”

The show features more than 50 performers from the Puget Sound-area’s South Asian community including artists from Redmond, Kirkland, Sammamish and Bellevue.

Pratidhwani is a Seattle nonprofit cultural organization with the purpose of promoting and cultivating South Asian artistic traditions through performing arts.

In the original 1884 Bengali novel “Devi Chaudhurani” by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, the young, illiterate, and impoverished Prafulya unexpectedly soars to great heights as Devi, a woman who rises to power against the rule of the British. Despite being beloved by her people, Devi ultimately submits to cultural pressure and returns to her traditional duty as a wife.

In this new, English-language adaptation by Seattle writer and director Moumita Bhattacharya, Pratidhwani gives Prafulya the power of choice — proving that a woman can be the protagonist in her own story, despite men’s best efforts to make her invisible.

“Devi” is the fifth collaboration between ACTLab and Pratidhwani. Pratidhwani’s production of “Devi” is wrapping up its performances at the Allen Theatre at ACT, 700 Union St. in Seattle, by May 11.

“When Bankim wrote ‘Devi’ in the 1880s, despite the compelling story of a powerful woman, the ending was driven by Bankim’s principles of a ‘perfect society’ and was predictable,” Bhattacharya said in a release. “There never was a question of where she would go. To me, that was not acceptable. Every human being needs to have a choice. Most importantly, as I adapted the story for stage, I felt like Devi herself was demanding that she be given a right to choose her own life.”

Ritwik Mannan of Kirkland is one of the lead male dancers. The self-taught dancer of more than 10 years said he’s enjoyed being a part of “Devi.”

“I’ve loved being a part of this show. It’s such a supportive, helpful and creative cast and crew,” he said. “It’s been great to put on such a massive production and doing something a little out of my creative comfort zone.”

Sravya Vishnubhatla of Bellevue is the show’s choreographer and is also one of the female dancers. She said working on this production has been an amazing inspiration.

“We’ve built a really great community and we have a strong network of people,” Vishnubhatla said.

While preparing for a large scale production proved to be challenging at times, especially with the February snowstorms, Vishnubhatla said the cast and crew put in a lot of extra time to ensure everything was perfect.

Vishnubhatla said this version of the classic story is one that will appeal to a variety of audiences.

“The show is for all people. It has a strong female lead. The story is vulnerable and empowering,” she said. “The show does a great job of being inclusive and accessible to all audiences.”

For more information about Pratidhwani, visit pratidhwani.org. For more information about “Devi,” pratidhwani.org/devi.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@kirklandreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kirklandreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

Ritwik Mannan stars as one of the lead dancers in “Devi.” Photo courtesy of Siddhartha Saha Photography

Ritwik Mannan stars as one of the lead dancers in “Devi.” Photo courtesy of Siddhartha Saha Photography

More in Life

Washington State Fair cancelled

COVID-19 outbreak claims another event

Decorated statue at Marina Park in support of Black Lives Matter efforts. Reader submitted photo.
Ribbons for Black Lives Matter

The display at Marina Park coincides with statewide efforts of the local King County Black Lives Matter chapter.

Kirkland Wednesday Farmers Market will run every Wednesday from June 5 through September 25.
Kirkland farmers markets are ready for shoppers

Both Kirkland Wednesday Market and Juanita Friday Market are practicing social distancing during their reopenings.

TLG Motion Pictures CEO Erik Bernard and TLG founder Courtney LeMarco on a set. Photo courtesy TLG Motion Pictures.
Local production company seeking film, TV pitches from young minority creatives

The Big Pitch competition, put on by TLG Motion Pictures (“Hoarders”), started about six months ago.

Local musicians hold virtual benefit concert for mental health

The stream-a-thon supports NAMI Eastside and nonprofit Hold Your Crown

Hannah Scholes. COURTESY PHOTO
Waste reduction from home

A monthly column from Waste Management.

Medic One Foundation’s Gratitude Meals offer support to first responders, local businesses

The initiative provides hearty lunches to first responders staffing the COVID-19 testing sites as they work to test their colleagues.

UW students create Spira app to gather COVID-19 data

The app was created to screen for respiratory diseases but the teen creators shifted their focus once the COVID-19 outbreak began.

Showing their appreciation for EvergreenHealth workers

First responders from Kirkland, Bothell and Woodinville stopped by the Kirkland medical center to show their support for their colleagues.

‘Don’t assume it can’t happen to you’

Federal Way resident Evelyn Allcorn shares story of her husband’s battle with COVID-19 after he tested positive on March 28.

From left, Evan Shouse, Lauren Shouse and Ellienn Tatar stand outside their Kirkland residence. Courtesy photo
Making ends meet during the coronavirus pandemic

LWTech Foundation COVID-19 Student Emergency Fund lends a helping hand.

Savannah Lynn and Will Chadek in the Second Story Repertory of Redmond’s production of “The Fantasticks.” “The Fantasticks” had been performed three times by the organization until coronavirus concerns resulted in the cancellation of the remaining dates. Photo by Michael Brunk
How is the coronavirus affecting the arts?

Representatives from Eastside arts institutions discuss their experiences.