They meet online, cultivate a virtual relationship and then struggle to make the same connection in real-life — this isn’t the plot of a Hollywood or Bollywood film set in the future, but it’s the story of the Marathi play, White Lily Aani Night Rider. Starring Sonali Kulkarni and Milind Phatak, this two-member play has gathered a strong fan following, even with non-Maharashtrians.
Making use of a minimalistic stage set and using phones as major props, the characters indulge in animated conversations, which at times, get sexual. Since its premiere last year, the play has had nearly 100 performances so far.
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Now, in order to reach a wider audience, the play is being adapted to a Hinglish version titled, White Lily And Night Rider. We talk to actor-producer Sonali Kulkarni about the play and theatre in general.
Tell us about the play. How the Hinglish version came along.
It is a contemporary take on issues such as commitment phobia, expectations, dependence on technology and love.
The protagonists strive to get into a relationship but are commitment phobic at the same time. As the popularity of the Marathi version grew, we started getting a commendable share of non-Marathi speaking viewers too. We didn’t want language to act as a barrier for them.
That is why we planned the Hinglish version, but, the Marathi version will also be performed from time to time.
How long did it take to rework the original play?
Since we did not change our cast, music or set, it was all about getting comfortable with the dialogue. It took us nearly three months to translate it and familiarise ourselves with the nuances of the languages.
Since you are also producing the project, was there any added pressure?
This is my debut as a producer. There was no pressure, as I felt the script was worth investing in. This play is very close to me since this script was originally conceptualised and enacted by renowned Marathi actor Rasika Joshi, who passed away due to cancer. It took me some years to revive the project along with Milind.
How do you think regional theatre is evolving?
Theatre, in general, is alive. I strongly believe that a good script is always a winner regardless of whether it’s in films or theatre. I have never done any film or play just for the heck of it. But, I have made a conscious choice of choosing theatre now. When I see a full house attendance, it gives me a special high. Theatre isn’t dying. Where there is good content, there will be appreciation and acknowledgement.
White Lily And Night Rider will be staged on April 12 and 13 at Prithvi Theatre, Juhu, at 6 pm (Marathi version) and 9 pm (Hinglish version).