Girl power

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 31 Oct 2018 14:56:37


By Aasawari Shenolikar,


Akvarious Productions
Written by: Dilshad Edibam Khurana &
Tahira Nath Krishnan,
Directed by: Prerna Chawla & ShikhaTalsania.
Cast: Mithila Palkar, ShikhaTalsania, Astha Arora, Dilshad Edibam Khurana, Prerna Chawla, Tahira Nath Krishnan
Saturday 3 November | 7 pm
Sunday 4 November | 3 pm
(Special Show - For Ladies only)
Sunday 4 November | 7 pm
Patrakar Club of Nagpur, Civil Lines, Nagpur

Say Shikha Talsania and the image that pops up is of a cute roly-poly girl who brought the house down with her vivaciousness in the recently released Veere Di Wedding. But that is not all that is there to Shikha Talsania, who made her Bollywood debut way back in 2009 with Wake Up Sid. Remember Ranbir Kapoor’s best buddy in that film - that was Shikha, the four a.m. friend who called a spade a spade and whom one could completely rely on, a friend everyone hankers for in one’s life. She has received much critical acclaim for the various supporting roles that she has played in films since her debut, but Shikha’s repertoire doesn’t end with films.

She has done a number of short films, she has been a part of many advertisement campaigns and has also done a web series. Besides this, she is very actively pursuing theatre - in short, this talented dynamo is passionate about acting. “For most actors, foraying into direction is the next logical step,” she says while interacting with The Hitavada, “and I knew that I too wanted to sit in the director’s chair. This opportunity came my way when Akarsh Khurana, helming the Akvarious Productions for whom I have done a few plays, offered me the play Dekh Behen. ‘Will you direct it?’ was the question he put forth to me. I jumped at the chance and considered myself lucky that this came my way at such a young age.

Along with Prerna Chawla, I got to direct a bunch of girls for a play that is realistic as well as hilarious.”
Throwing light on what Dekh Behen is, Shikha says that this is about a big fat Chhattarpur wedding and what undergoes a few hours before the wedding. Merely hours before they need to put up their rehearsed item number, five bridesmaids catch up, gossip, eat, drink, and whine about their identical outfits. But that’s not the only thing they have in common. They all dislike the bride. The audience will realise that this is a bittersweet comedy about daughters, girlfriends, mothers, sisters, wives, and getting through one shaadi ka function.

With Veere Di Wedding also focusing on one big fat Delhi wedding and the emotions of the people associated with the function, is there any similarity between Dekh Behen and the film that is still fresh in the minds of many who watched it? Shikha refutes and states that barring the theme of wedding, nothing is common between the two.

The plus about Dekh Behen is not only that it is Shikha’s directorial debut, it is also that she got to work with close friends. “There were no inhibitions on the sets or any awkward moments because all of us are closely associated with each other. And so what you get to see on the stage is complete harmony between us.” The icing on the cake is that Dekh Behen has an all female crew. “Writers, directors, technicians, designers, there isn’t a man in sight,” she says, and then laughingly adds, “Except Akarsh, who does the all important job of signing on the cheques.”

It was challenging directing the play because the time frame given to them was very less. “We had less than a month at our disposal to put up the play. What helped was that we had a wonderful bunch of writers, actors and of course the producer.” And during the rehearsals, everyone had a blast. “The writers are actors in the play, as are both the directors. So there were a lot of improvisations during the rehearsals. Other actors would also chip in. Some improvisations added to the depth of the play and we retained them. The characters kept on developing during the dry runs, and the energy multiplied manifold with each passing day. We knew we had a winner on hand. When staged for the first time, it was sheer magic that unfolded on the stage.” The
magic continues.
Even before I could put across the next question, Shikha chips in and says, “Please don’t ask me which medium I prefer. I am tired of answering this ubiquitous question that journos put to every artist who dabbles in theatre as well as films. I know it is on your list of question and so I will say that as an artist who is passionate about acting, I love both. There are a few technical differences. In the end, it really doesn’t matter where you are performing. What matters is that you are performing.”