Theatre,” Lillete Dubey ruminates, “Is a pure place for me… It’s one of the few bastions where one isn’t completely driven by commerce.”

A woman of many hats — producer, director, and actor — her passion for dramatics needs no introduction. But, her drive to bring engaging stories to the audience surely does. Dubey is all geared up to present the Capital’s audience with her two directorial productions — Salaam, Noni Appa and Kanyadaan — next week; in partnership with Hindustan Times.

A scene from the play Salaam, Noni Appa.

Her play titled Salaam, Noni Appa is a leaf straight out of actor turned author Twinkle Khanna’s bestseller book, The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad, and is being adapted for the stage by writer Adhir Bhat. A delightful tale of two polar opposite sisters, Noni Appa and Binni, whose world turns into one after marriage, children and widowhood.

What made her take up this story, in particular? “I felt like doing something with humour and romance. The play resonated [with me] personally as it’s about the relationship between two sisters. And, my sister Lushin and I, are extremely close since childhood. It’s also about a life stage that is very close to mine. Noni [in the play] has lost her husband many years ago. The younger sister is constantly thinking of new activities, and one of the hobbies brings a relatively younger yoga teacher into their lives, and things start changing…”

The aspect of life being full of unexpected surprises is what this play explores. Dubey adds, “As long as you’re open to new experiences, you can work, find love and friendships. We think that this can only happen when you’re young. But, the play breaks those stereotypes and shows that this is true at any age.”

A scene from the play Kanyadaan by playwright Vijay Tendulkar.

The second play, Kanyadaan — by playwright Vijay Tendulkar — traces the story of a family where the daughter gets married to a not-so-ideal man, and shows the repercussions of the same. “It’s to do with the class divide, anywhere in the world, or any other contrasting sociocultural and economic background, and the conflict that lies in relationships,” confesses Dubey, adding, “I’m restless as an actor and director, and want complete freedom to [create the] content and casting the way I do. I’ve done plays on Zen Buddhism and child sexual abuse, and I’m attracted to plays that have strong female protagonists.”

Dubey says it makes her happy when Indian audiences embrace new stories pan media. “It’s so lovely to see how people are trying to change themes and subjects in films. It’s easy to say that ‘Oh! Audience won’t like this stuff’. But, we are dumbing down the audience by saying ‘Arrey inko toh yeh sab nahin pasand hain’. Today, people are so exposed and interested in different subjects,” she adds.

Mention Delhi, and Dubey becomes nostalgic about the wide gamut of plays that she has done with her mentor and theatre director Barry John, in the Capital. “I was lucky. He was the most creative and active during those years, as he was directing plays every 3-4 months,” she concludes with a coat of sweet memories.

Catch It Live

  • What: Salaam, Noni Appa and Kanyadaan
  • Where: Kamani Auditorium, 1, Copernicus Marg, Mandi House
  • When: Salaam, Noni Appa (January 16, 7pm), Kanyadaan (Januaray 17, 7pm)
  • Nearest Metro Station: Mandi House on Yellow and Violet Lines

Interact with the author on Twitter/@Nainaarora8

First Published: Jan 11, 2019 18:20 IST


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