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A new play exposes the entertainment industry’s dark secrets

A premiering play explores murky stories underneath the glamourous world of films, fashion weeks, and page 3 parties.

HT48HRS_Special Updated: Feb 25, 2017 12:13 IST
Manali Shah
A still from a teaser of Andheri
A still from a teaser of Andheri

A premiering play explores murky stories underneath the glamourous world of films, fashion weeks, and page 3 parties.

The entertainment industry is fraught with uncertainty, but that doesn’t stop dreamers from all over the country arriving here, with hopes of making it big. The plot of a new play, Andheri, is about eight colourful characters that are part of the show business: a conventionally good-looking actor who’s addicted to the spotlight, a casting assistant who pines to be an actor, and an actress open to the rules of the casting couch.

Watch: A teaser of Andheri

The dark comedy takes its name from the suburb where many members of the industry reside. The play has themes of gender politics and power dynamics. Its writer and director, Arnesh Ghose (27), of The Mirror Merchants troupe, says, “I realised that no one had done a play on the film industry in recent times (sic). It’s surprising because the film industry is what defines the city, attracts hordes of people every month, and Mumbai is synonymous with Bollywood. Also, theatre has always been a training ground for a lot of film actors… at least the better ones.”

READ MORE: Satyajit Ray’s Hirak Rajar Deshe inspires this quirky play

The play discusses the story of the characters — actors, directors, casting agents and theatre artists — and explores their ambitions and the choices they make to achieve them. It’s an insider’s look into the murky reality of trying to survive in a cut-throat world. For instance, the actress, who talks about the string of people she’s slept with for a role, feels distrustful of people trying to befriend her. She feels that nobody forms an honest and sincere relationship with her. Most of the script is inspired by Ghose and his troupe’s personal experiences. “The narrative arcs are fictional, though,” he says.

Watch: A teaser of Andheri

Ghose’s previous play, Murgistaan (based on Satyajit Ray’s Hirak Rajar Deshe), was also a dark comedy about an autocratic king. “Dark comedies are cerebral, sharp, and sting harder. They balance hard truths with interesting wordplay, wit, sarcasm (the drier, the better) and become an engaging exercise,” he says.

Be there

What: Andheri will be staged on February 24 and 25, 6pm and 7.45pm (on both days).

Where: Sathaye Auditorium, Dixit Road, Vile Parle (E)

Price: Rs 350 on bookmyshow.com