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Khatijabai is back

art and culture Updated: Oct 08, 2009 21:04 IST
Hindustan Times
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Q Theatre Productions’ longest running play, Khatijabai of Karmali Terrace that opened in 2004 comes back after a two year hiatus.

It is an adaptation of a Singaporean play Emily of Emerald Hill and now, Q Theatre Productions’ Khatijabai of Karmali Terrace, is back after a two-year break. The play about an orphan girl who rises to become the matriarch of one of the most influential households in Mumbai is directed by Quasar Thakore Padamsee, who based the central character on his paternal grandmother.

Telling a tale
The play is set in the Khoja community and traces the social changes from
pre-independent India to the Colaba Causeway of today. “The play is a slice of life,” explains Padamsee, “while it is the story of a woman, it is not a feminist piece.”

“It’s about living life with dignity. We trace the life of this exceptional woman through her love, happiness and hurt. And her view of people is so unique and comical,” says Padamsee.

Explaining the long absence of the play from city theatres, producer Toral Shah says, “Quasar and I have been on tour for the last few years. We actually thought we had closed it, but Jayati (actor Jayati Bhatia who plays the role of Khatijabai) loves the character so much, she literally dragged us all back into the rehearsal room. It’s a play very close to our heart.”

Round about
“Next week we complete our ten years of performing at Prithvi. It seemed like the perfect play to commemorate the occasion,” she says.

The play is a one-woman show starring television star Jayati Bhatia. She plays the role of Khatija, an orphan who rises to become the matriarch of one of the most influential households in Mumbai. “I hope to continue playing the part for as long as I am physically able. It’s a beautiful story, and the strength of this character has been an inspiration to me in my own life,” says Bhatia.

“Every time I wear Khatijabai’s green saree, something magical takes over,” she says. In the last few years Bhatia has become a regular on the small screen with her roles in Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin, Viraasat, Maayka, Kuch Iss Tarah and Sabki Laadli Bebo. She also received critical acclaim for her portrayal of a snobbish upper-middle class housewife in Baarah Anna.