Yet another mesmerising play from director Raman Kumar

by March 17, 2019 0 comments

After winning the hearts of Delhiites with Wrong Number in 2018, director Raman Kumar is all set to mesmerise audiences with another play — Hello Zindagi. SHALINI SAKSENA speaks to the actors and the scriptwriter on what makes it a must watch

Five gorgeous actresses’ are all set to mesmerise Delhiites with the latest stage show — Hello Zindagi!. The play marks a debut for actor Smita Bansal as a scriptwriter (plays Rukhsar in Aladdin:Naam Toh Suna Hoga on SAB TV) and has been directed by Raman Kumar, who has been bestowed with the Dada Saheb Phalke Award (2015) for Contribution in Television.

The vivacious Minissha Lamba, plays Pammi. Lamba recently debuted on stage with her solo performance in Mirror Mirror where she plays multiple roles. Kishwer Merchant plays Sheena. Delnaaz Irani plays Bakula. Chitrashi Rawat plays Shivani. The man among the five women — Rahul Nayyar — plays Vicky. Guddi Maruti plays Bijoya di, a Bengali.

The theatrical revolves around women who come from different backgrounds and characteristics but  are staying together in a posh flat in Mumbai. Be prepared for drama as these strong, sharp witty women lead you on an unforgettable journey filled with intrigue, comedy,  confusion and passionate tides.

The harmony in the home gets tangled when Vicky falls in love with Pammi, wants to marry her and take her to the US and Bakula decides to move with them too. The plot thickens when she decides to give her business to a corporation on lease which is being organised by Vicky.

Talking about her character, Guddi tells you that she plays a Bengali maid. “Though my character is that of a maid, I am more of a friend. Since I am elder to the five women, I scold them and even bestow love. I participate in their fun as well,” Guddi shares, who makes a debut on theatre with this play.

She tells you that she was apprehensive in doing theatre. “I was scared because I had never done theatre. I was not sure whether I would be able to adjust to the concept that there are no retakes and do it at a stretch. My dear friend Rakesh Bedi ji and Ramanji convinced me to at least read the script. Once I read it, I was so taken in with the characterisation and how five women come together even though they have a backstory. Also, after 38 years in the industry, I can say that I have done theatre as well,” Guddi says.

Playing a Bengali came with its share of preparation. Besides getting the attire correct, she had to get the accent correct.

“I had to learn a few Bengali sentences. Accent had to be right as well. I did a bit of research myself. I also had to get used to whole sentences like ‘jal khabey’. I had to work on these nuances,” Guddi says and tells you that the reason why she is not doing films is because of the kind of movies that are being made today.

“When I started off in movies, it was a different era. Today, while one does have movies like Badhai Ho, it is no longer the kinds that were made with Govinda. I am busy doing TV. Even with this play, I agreed because I had just finished Yeh Un Dinon Ki Baat Hai where she played Principal Ma’am VJN College. The timing was perfect. You have to give theatre full attention. More so, since the stage was new for me,” Guddi says.

She recounts how they had a blast not just of the stage but off the stage too. “There was so much fun with Kishwer, Delnaaz and Chitrashi,” she says whose favourite scene in the play is between Kishwer and Delnaaz.

“Kishwer has done such a brilliant job. It reduced me to tears,” Guddi says who tells you that doing theatre has changed her.

“I am glad that I said yes. I had a mental block before. I have grown as an actor. The stage has helped me to be sharper. In films and TV, you have to learn a few lines and then there is a cut. Stage is different. I have cues and then make an entry. I have to be alert all the time,” Guddi says and the whole experience has made her open to doing more theatre.

Rahul Bhuchar, producer and MD, Felicity Theatre  says that we all need entertainment to unwind the monotonous daily grind and the play is definitely one answer to that conundrum. “The quality of the production, the powerful script and brilliant performances by these talented actresses’ promises to keep the audiences glued to their seats till the very last minute,” Bhuchar shares.

Kumar, tells you that through Hello Zindagi! they want to say that God has made life beautiful, but it’s the people, who create problems for themselves. “This results in misery and problems. There are no shortcuts in life. The simpler your life is, the  happier you will be. Live the life fully and love the life you have been given. While people may not be able to live the life as they have wanted to that doesn’t mean we can’t make the best of what we have. This the theme of the play,” Kumar says who has been busy with the play after the success of Wrong Number that was staged in 2018.

“The original story by Bansal was in English. I got to read the story, I loved the characters and decided to adopt it into Hindi. This is because in Hindi the whole gamut changes — be it language, dialogues or the fun quotient which is so different from English,” Kumar shares and tells you that  the inspiration came from the emotions and the treatment that Hello Zindagi! has — dealing with a serious issue lightly.

He tells you that the reason for the growing popularity of live performance is the result of increased demand in good content.

“With the spurt in the digital platform, people are now looking for entertainment that will take them out of their homes. Film is an alternative. Also most movies find their way into the digital space. Theatre gives them live entertainment. Then there is star power too. People come to watch their favourite stars like Anupam Kher and Naseeruddin Shah who are active,” Kumar says and tells you that in Mumbai alone, there are 20-25 theatre performances every weekend in different languages.

Bansal tells you that the inspiration for the story came after her 14-year-old daughter’s book got published. “That got me thinking and I started penning some characters which became related. Slowly, the story took shape. While it was not a TV or a film script, stage was a platform where I could see it coming alive. Once I approached Ramanji, we sat and translated it into Hindi. I have been involved from day one,” Bansal says and tells you that the essence and the spirit has remained the same.

Whether scriptwriting will turn into a full-fledged career is sometime that requires more thought. “The only reason why I was able to pen this down was because I was between shows. If I have to write, it won’t be while I am shooting for a show because TV is very consuming,” Bansal tells you.

The message Hello Zindagi wants to send is what women go through, but not in a morose manner. “Even though the woman is working, the home responsibilities still rest with us. I wanted to talk about this — how despite challenges, women are happy juggling work and home,” Bansal says.

The tickets:Rs 300-Rs 2,000 bought at www.bookmyshow.com

Date & Time: March 23, Saturday 3:30pm and 6:30pm; March 24, Sunday at 5pm

Venue: Kamani Auditorium, Delhi

Writer:  Shalini Saksena

Courtesy: The Pioneer

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