From Port Moody to Midnight’s Children
March 05th, 2015
The award-winning actress, playwright and dancer Anita Majumdar grew up in Port Moody, where she did not speak English until the age of six.
As the daughter of Hindu Bengali immigrants, Anita Majumdar trained in classical dance including Bharata Natyam, Kathak and Odissi. After graduating from high school Majumdar attended UBC where she earned degrees in English, Theatre and South Asian Languages. She then went on to attend the National Theatre School of Canada, graduating in 2004.
Majumdar wrote a one-woman play in 2005, Fish Eyes, about a classically trained Indian dancer whose love of Bollywood movies does not stop her from wanting to be like the rest of her Canadian high-school friends and developing a crush on Buddy, a popular boy who barely notices her. Acting the three different parts of the play on stage got Majumdar noticed by a Toronto producer. Shortly after, she was cast in the CBC television film Murder Unveiled about a Canadian Sikh beautician who was murdered by her family for secretly marrying a poor Indian rickshaw driver. Majumdar won the Best Actress Award at the 2005 Asian Festival of First Films for it.
Majumdar also played the character of Emerald in Canadian director Deepa Mehta’s adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children.
Majumdar continues to write and has added two more plays following on from Fish Eyes, creating a series about teenage girls who attend the same high school and filter their teenage woes through dance while exploring teenage life and the meaning of heritage. Boys With Cars follows Naz who, like Meena in Fish Eyes, is also a classically trained Indian dancer dreaming of getting out of Port Moody but ends up getting entangled in a scandal with Buddy; and Let Me Borrow That Top, centering on Candice, a girl who makes life hell for Meena and Naz but who cares passionately about classical Indian dance.
Majumdar also penned the Bollywood-inspired musical Same Same but Different about ‘shadism’ – a person of colour’s desire for fair skin.
Her new collection of plays is called Fish Eyes (Playwrights Canada $22.95), which contains her three coming-of-age solo plays: Fish Eyes, Boys With Cars, Let Me Borrow That Top 9781770913271