30 Oct 2013
Yesterday, Apne Aap Women’s Collective (AAWC) welcomed Marathi actor Aditi Sarangdhar as chief guest of the Navratri & Diwali celebration for Udaan members. A philosophy graduate of Ruia College and an actor well known for her portrayal of strong female leads, Sarangdhar encouraged the girls to pursue their academic studies and personal interests. Richard Bale, Consul General for Canada in Mumbai, and his wife Susan Laidlaw, a weekly tutor at AAWC, also attended the festive occasion. Joined by Sarangdhar, staff members, and volunteers from Australia, Germany, and Uganda, the girls celebrated Navratri by forming an energetic circle for the Garba dance.
In her speech to the girls, Sarangdhar said, "I would only like to tell each of you this: You will go far in life by pursuing higher education. Go abroad, explore yourself, and come back to India to help those who need you here."
Sarangdhar also discussed her award-winning role as a call girl in Proposal, a two-act play that critically examines societal prejudices against women and the working class. “I had researched AAWC when I was offered the role,” she noted, “but now I feel I should have visited as well! I am very grateful for the opportunity to be here today.”
Sarangdhar is a Marathi actor most famous for her lead role as Saloni Deshmukh, an intelligent and courageous police inspector on Star Pravah’s crime serial Lakshya. In 2012, she played Monali Mohite in Hou de Jarasa Ushir (Let There Be A Little Delay), the first Marathi film to be selected among the top 282 films for the Academy Awards’ Best Film category. Most recently, she starred as Shabbo in Proposal, a two-act play about a call girl that critically examines societal prejudices against women and the working class. For her performance in Proposal, Sarangdhar has been recognized as Best Actress of 2013 by Maharashtra Times’ Mata Sanman Awards, Zee Network’s Zee Gaurav Puraskar, and the Maharashtra State Government’s Commercial Theater Competition Award.
The Garba dance, which originated in the state of Gujarat, began as a reenactment of the goddess Durga’s victory over the bull-demon Mahishasura and is usually performed on the last day of Navratri. As the name Durga means “The Invincible”, it is fitting that the Garba dance is one of the Udaan girls’ favorite festival activities, even when the Navratri festival is not in season.
About Apne Aap Women’s Collective
Founded in 1998, Apne Aap Women’s Collective (AAWC) serves the women, girls, and toddlers of the Greater Kamathipura Area, one of the largest and oldest red light areas in Asia. By providing its members with the tools and resources to create a better life, AAWC seeks to empower women who have been trafficked into brothel-based prostitution and to prevent intergenerational trafficking of girls and young children who grow up in the brothels. Since its inception, AAWC has served more than 1,500 women, 650 girls and 400 toddlers. Learn more at www.aawc.in.