India’s finest drag queens who are breaking stereotypes and inspiring manyBeUnic
Did you know about the thriving drag culture in India? All thanks to Mr. Keshav Suri for giving all of them a huge platform to perform and also to bring International drag queens to perform in India. The Lalit Hotel hosts drag night every Thursday in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore and sometimes in Chandigarh and Kolkata, where a lot of local queens get to perform and also get a chance to share the stage with the International drag queens who visit.
Sushant Divgikr a.k.a Rani KoHEnur
THE Queen. She is eclectic. You write her a cheque big enough and she will do anything you want. She has had her own radio show, is a regular feature on page 3, has had her own TV shows, lent her voice for playback singing been in some massive theatre productions and has been in a feature film as well. Rani is the only locally bred Indian drag artiste to have performed internationally from London to Thailand and from Sweden to Bangladesh. She has performed and shared stage with international pop culture icons like the weather girls, Amanda Lepore and the Village people. Rani was the Indian Ambassador at the Dhaka Arts Summit, was featured in GQ 40 under 40 most influential young Indians, was on the Grazia cool list of 2020 and most recently , on the Forbes 30 under 30 Asia List for 2020 making her the first ever drag artist from ASIA to make it to this list. She has given us one of the most iconic VOGUE India COVER! Her first tryst with drag was in 2015 on stage, in the theatre production of Merchant of Venice by Vikram Kapadia, alongside Neil Bhoopalam, Jim Sarbh, Luke Kenny and Rajeev Siddhartha. Her debut as a performing drag queen in a nightclub was in 2017 as Rani KoHEnur sharing stage with Violet Chachki. Rani’s inspirations are her parents who inspire her to work harder every day. She wants to inspire as many queens as possible and tell them that they need to do and be the best version of themselves. The competition is not with other people. It’s with oneself.
Alex Mathew a.k.a Maya The Drag Queen
She believes in being very versatile. She can sing, dance and do comedy as well. She started in 2014 and has completed 6 years as a drag queen. She looks up to her own mother first and was inspired a lot by Mrs. Doubtfire.
Prateek Sachdeva a.k.a Betta Naan Stop
She is a dancing and lip-syncing queen. She has been doing drag for 3 years now. Her inspiration comes from women in the entertainment industry; Right from a big shot actress to a female model just standing with full poise in a car show. A Vegas showgirl, to a girl holding the board with the scores during a fight match. A Broadway musical lead, to the dancer who has no lines in the show.
Sudipto Biswas a.k.a Rimi Heart
Rimi likes to think of herself as The Elusive Chanteuse of drag. She is a vocalist with a penchant for matching and raising her aesthetic as high as those notes she belts. Rimi was born during Pride 2016. She has gone through transformations aplenty in her 3 year run towards greatness. Well, it was more like a light jog. She was born out of a whim to try out this new thing called drag during queer pride. But soon the unwanted birth turned into a rabid obsessive love towards this new found world of confidence and glitter. Oh, there’s so much glitter! Rimi looks up to The Divine Femininity and hopes to do right by Her. She is fascinated by all womanhood that is blessed by the gift of song. Her idols include Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Nina Simone, Amy Winehouse and Miss Alaska Elizabeth Thunderfun to name a few.
Nitish Anand a.k.a Shabnam Bewafa
One of India’s youngest drag queens, she is also a TEDx speaker, Human book with Government of India, manages PR for Nazariya and performs with Kitty Su and different foreign embassies in India. She is a dancing and looks queen who is more into high street fashion shoots. She has been doing drag for almost 3 years now. She always used to cringe about it, but at the same time she also wanted to try it. Eventually she did, and fell in love with it. Her inspiration is freestyle: from international drag queens, western and Indian cinemas, to drama clubs and people in general.
Siddhant Kodlekere a.k.a Lady Bai
Lady Bai has been doing drag for 3 years now and is a dancing queen and sometimes a hosting a queen and sometimes a looks and bearded queen. Art and painting is what inspired her to do drag. Anything over the top/artistic, that’s what grabs her attention. So that includes, big hips, long legs, glittery costumes, yummy hair etc. She might like over the top but she likes to keep things small and simple. She personally looks up to all the local drag queens who are striving so hard to keep the art alive.
Aishwarya Ayushmaan a.k.a Lush Monsoon
She is a theatrical, lip-syncing queen who doesn’t hesitate to serve high concept looks. Lush is also a human rights lawyer and has been performing drag for three years now. On stage, she creates a story through her joy filled and sometimes-emotional performances. Her performances aim to be a mirror for the society and to spread the message of acceptance, self-love, and body positivity, among others. RuPaul’s Drag Race helped her embrace her femininity and get into drag. She looks up to anyone who lives their true authentic selves.
Ikshaku Bezbaroa a.k.a Kushboo
She does not have a set type. She does it all. She writes and tells stories, she creates avant-garde costumes and make up. She uses theatricality and visual elements to express and perform magic (literally) on stage. She has been doing drag for 3 years now and is inspired by Sasha Velour’s style of performance. She takes from Alaska Thunderfuck’s attitude to the art. Actresses from Bollywood and Hollywood primarily inspire her. Classic old world fashion, fantasy fiction and the jazz aesthetic inform her looks while the songs she performs to come from a lifetime of musical self-culturing.
Taksh a.k.a SICK
Taksh is a fashion stylist and blogger, a makeup enthusiast and former model. She was one of the first openly trans women to walk the runway for a major fashion brand at the Lotus India Fashion Week; she’s since opened for Huemn at their 2018 SS show and has been in every major Indian fashion publication. Her drag persona SICK was fully developed in late 2019 when she performed onstage at MAGNETIC FIELDS with queer nightlife collective Dragery. SICK is a drag persona born out of Taksh’s love and reverence for nightlife and the nostalgia for New York Club Kids and weirdo-art clowns. SICK is a kooky club kid queen who doesn’t believe in following rules of drag or beauty; and is a culmination of Taksh’s own experiences as a chaotic life of the party kindagal.
Prashant Priyadarshi a.k.a Bahaar (as in Spring the season)
Bahaar is not just any DRAGQUEEN, she is an entrepreneur, a fitness enthusiast, a self-taught chef and an Instagram entertainer. She left her well-paying job to pursue her dream of becoming a stylist without having a fashion degree in the year 2014. She started from the lowest form of job in the fashion industry and by 2016 her work was featured in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, GQ magazine, Cosmopolitan, Grazia magazine, ELLE and many more.In 2017 she started her own production company called “ADAM PRODUCTIONS” and bagged clients like H&M, Swarovski, Amazon, Myntra, UCB, Lifestyle, New Port, Raymond, Max Fashion, Rough & Tough, Scullers, Indigo Nation, Arvind and many more. After the success of her first company, in 2019 Bahaar started her clothing company “DESTELLO” which makes casual shirts for men. She is a hustler; she believes hard and smart work ethic and does not believe in giving up or losing. Bahaar is also a Ted speaker and conducts fashion seminars in the corporate world. She was asked to personally style the CEO, the President and the Chairman of Toyota motors when the dignitaries had come to India to launch Toyota’s Lexus. She is charitable and holds animal welfare close to her heart. She is active rescuer and could do anything to save a speechless animal. She does not believe in following but in leading the way.She likes to workout everyday, she could be very masculine in the gym and very feminine otherwise and in drag. Drag has been a part of her life since the last two years and she could not have been happier. She is living her fantasy now.
Ashish Chopra a.k.a Cumsin Haseena
She is a corporate queen and a Bollywood dance queen who has been dancing to Madhuri and Sridevi songs for 3 years now. She takes inspiration from Sushant Divgikr for being the versatile star she is. Maya who she also looks up to gave her first saree to her. She started off just to break stereotypes of how people think that clothing has gender. When people around her started liking it, she started performing on stage. She works as an HR in an MNC, has her own business, was the runner up at Mr. Gay India 2018, has appeared on Verve, newspapers and on radio shows many times. She is also called by various corporates to talk about gender and sexuality at the workplace. She is definitely an all rounder!
12. Nilay Joshi a.k.a Miss Bhenji
The QUEEN who represents the aesthetics of Bollywood. She’s funny, quirky and full of surprises. Overly optimistic and full of energy whenever she performs. Her strength is her audience and she’s not here to please but to make a point with a collective collaboration. She’s the sweetest until you show your homophobic, transphobic or mainly dragphobic comments. She has performed in Kitty Su, Mumbai and Delhi and Kitty Ko Bangalore so far. She first performed at the Christmas Eve 2018 (Debut at Kitty Su), After Pride Party in Mumbai and 1 year celebration of Queer freedom tour of 2019. She has recently performed with Rangeela Toronto’s online show where she won hearts from an international audience too. Her strengths are dancing and comedy. Her weakness are cute boys and non-fitting clothes.
Prashant Chauhan a.k.a Miz Whackerr Crackerr
She is a dancing queen and has been doing it for a year now. She is a professional dancer and didn’t know about drag until 2 years ago when she saw a drag queen perform. That’s when she decided that she should use her dancing abilities to up her drag game and started off last year.
Sanket Sawant a.k.a Gentleman Gaga
She is a dancing queen, inspired by Lady Gaga, and serves some killer Gaga like looks in her performances. With faith in her sense of fashion, she has been excelling in this field for almost 5yrs now, and loves how she portrays herself as an artist. Her message to the world is “Spread love, less legs, unless it’s for a dance move.”
Raghuveer Singh Sandhu a.k.a Hashbrownie
A look queen who has been doing drag for 3 years. When she first saw Patrick Star’s YouTube video called “Power of Makeup”, she felt very inspired and looks up to Betta for all her drag inspiration.
Neelesh Mehrotra a.k.a Seventeen
Sure the world breeds monsters and he finds himself a part of the Hood. As a queer ARTHHISSSTT, he wanted to showcase what’s in his repertoire’ to the Indian queer nightlife as a CLUBKID.SEVENTEEN- popped out of his mind onto a drawing pad 15 odd years ago in his Mathematics class, and that’s when he realized –“I AM THE BIG IDEA”. He is a very radical, creative and transgressive boy who loves to shake the mere establishment of normcore Fashion. A VOGUE Kid who gags y’all with Neon Art pop fantasies, Harlem 80’s ballroom moves and is always a Team Latex.Never trashy and always in something New because, This ain’t a culture, but is very much his Religion. His craft is vast, shapeless, genderless and he enjoys pricking Queer-phobic majority, wearing inches, longer than the mouth that runs around.
Hiten Noonwal is a free bird, who learned to fly when the world was busy trying to break its wings. They are a celebrated Genderfluid performance artist, Drag Queen, fashion designer and a model. Even with the most devastated homophobic experience at their school, they could manage to earn a Masters Degree in design from “National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad”. They use their own body as a medium to express themselves through performance art and photography. They have won many awards, including winning Comicon Cosplay but still they believe that the biggest achievement of their life is “accepting themselves” as the way they are. They have shared stage with the International Drag Artist “Is She Hungry” and “Banjara Girls”. They have been featured in a short film as the protagonist. Other than being an amazing artist they also teach as a visiting faculty at various design institutes including NIFT. They are the only Indian design faculty who educates students being an artistic fashion character. They never go to the class with a book, in fact, they becomes a living book themselves. They are a social activist, influencer and a motivational speaker. Institutes like Nift Delhi and Woxsen calls them as a jury member. Recently they were invited as a “Guest of Honor” for the annual art exhibition by Institute of Performing Arts. Last but not least, Vegabomb magazine has listed them in “World’s Top Seven” genderfluid performers who are breaking stereotypes.
Jiiva Anirudh a.k.a Rita Squirter
She’s called the beauty with brains, she’s a queen without a crown, a Swarovski whore…She is fierce and sexy, she likes to light a man’s pants on fire… She love to talk about love and lust… She’s none other than “Rita Squirter”.💦💦
She has also been representing INDIA at the dance world cup from the past two year, and she has won the Gold and silver medal for the country making us all proud! Not only this she is also an internationally acclaimed classical, Bollywood and a Indian contemporary dancer who has more than 3000 performances to her list from over the globe. She has been a part of the performances in the consulate general of India in countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Bahrain, Australia, London, Spain and Portugal. And she having the highest scores in India qualifiers round dance world cup, is all set to perform in the finals held in Spain at the end of the year!
Sushiru a.k.a Dame Imfala
Dame Imfala derives her name from her favourite music project Tame Impala (surprise!). She’s Royalty from Imphal, the only contemporary Manipuri drag queen in the club scene. Born a Gemini, Imfala is a versatile and youthful queen. Owing to her background in fashion studies and performing arts, she likes to serve lewks and brings it to the ball every time. Her aesthetic is supremely fashionable and feminine, often fascinating.
Dame Imfala debuted at a gender sensitisation event in 2018 and has moved on to perform at clubs and turned heads at Fashion Weeks. Belonging to a small town in the North Eastern region of India, she continues to fight against racial discrimination/tokenism in the LGBTQ circle with her demure nature and power-packed performances.
Patruni Chidananda Sastry a.k.a Suffocated Art Specimen (S.A.S)
Patruni Chidananda Sastry Stage name SAS3 is an Indian Expressionist classical Dancer, Performance artist and Tranimal Drag performer. Patruni started dancing since the age of seven. Patruni Sastry unique style called “Expressionism” is a new way to tell stories of awareness to the society. Patruni Sastry contributes his attribute of dance with many organization like Mobbera Foundation, Mental Health Organization, Good Universe, Mist, Namma Pride, Human Library and the Humsafar trust. He has also been part of many dance festivals including Golden Beach Festival, Kalpashree dance festival, Hyderabad Literacy festival, International Story telling Festival, International mental health festival and so on. Patruni also used his skill to bring in visualization to complex numerical and conceptual subject and processed a new way to represent data. Patruni also created a new style of poetry reciting and storytelling. Patruni has worked on a unique style of dance called the “Expressionism “where he believes to radiate social awareness through dance. Patruni Chidananda Sastry believe in channeling his dancing urges in order to produce unique footsteps. Sastry’s inspiration for his work is the miracle of life and interest to learn more. Working as an Analyst in Deloitte Hyderabad, makes him relate business with dance. He is a Classical dancer who love to perform in boardrooms and business meetings, which allows his perspective as an artist to remain contemporary yet traditional. Dance is how he battle against the complexity of numbers and offer new ways to visualize the data to clients. Patruni Sastry started learning Bharatanatyam from prominent gurus Sri KalamandalamVentak in Kolkata and Smt. Vaidehi Subhash and Sri Hari Mangalampalli from Hyderabad. He also learned Oddisi from Swayam pragyan shahoo and Preeti Mohapatra . He learnt Kuchipudi from Sri Siva Kumar. Patruni carries a Diploma in Bharatanatyam and a certification of Avant Grade art Butoh from KEOI University.
Sanket Sveronic a.k.a VeRonica
A dancing queen who also serves looks and has been doing it for almost 2 years now. Watching all the drag shows and also, Sushant Divgikr, inspired her to be a drag queen.
She is the first transsexual bald woman and a very versatile artist who broke stereotypes and proved that you dont need any physical identification for achievements in life.She is the first bald transwoman model in the world who also featured on UK gay magazine (Gay star news). She is the first trans woman who featured on vogue india for her star quality.BBC hindi news made their first transition documentary film on her life.She came on colors channel dance deewane 2 and won many hearts of people for her brilliant performance. She was the highest TRP generating contestant, where she was praised by judge Madhuri Dixit for her dance abilities and courage for her extraordinary look.She is also the first bald transsexual woman to be featured on mainstream TV and much get so much praise for doing so.She is versatile artist-actor,dance choreographer, model, drag performer, fashion creative director and a writer.
Suruj Rajkhowa a.k.a Glorious Luna
The EXPERIMENTAL drag queen who likes to play around different personalities. She does it all – Fishy drag, Clown Drag, Gender fuck drag, Paegent drag.. Bringing peace and change to a world fucked by ignorance and patriarchy is my goal. My drag is super political and is presented to give out a certain message to the world, it’s Luna’s way of activism through Art. Been on Cosmopolitan, Paper Magazine, Herpers bazaar India Lakme fashion week and SoHo house, Mumbai. Recently worked with Pursuit of Portraits NYC and Manish Arora. A proud daughter of Rani Ko-HE-Nur and performing on various stages including Kitty Su Mumbai, Delhi, Jaipur.
Let us know your favorite and if we missed out any in the comments section!