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Dekh Behen: Sisterhood of the wedding party pants! | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis

Before we begin chatting about their new venture, Ahlam Karachiwala sits on a chair and tells me, “Ramu Ramanathan (playwright-director) once told me, ‘Men are redundant. You can put puppets on stage instead of them and you will be fine’.” There is a great hoot of approval from everyone around as she says this. As you can imagine, I’m sitting surrounded by women. The rehearsals for Akvarious Productions’ Dekh Behen are on and the all-women cast and crew play is in their element. Written by Dilshad Edibam Khurana and Tahira Nath Krishnan, the play, which premieres this week, is being directed by Prerna Chawla and Shikha Talsania. The cast comprises Dilshad, Tahira,  Ahlam, Astha Arora, and Mithila Palkar among others.

Keep it light

The light-hearted plot involves five bridesmaids, who are catching up a few hours before they are supposed to perform an item number at the sangeet function of a friend’s big fat Delhi wedding. Shikha, who became popular playing Ranbir Kapoor’s friend in Wake Up Sid!, is currently shooting for Veere Di Wedding, jokes, “I have played the bridesmaid and bride so often in films and on stage that there is always a shaadi ka mahaul in my head!”

Calling the play ‘an extended version of a girls’ night’, Dilshad and Tahira say that the process of writing was a lot of fun as they delved into the countless conversations they have had on their night outs. “It was so much fun digging into our deepest darkest secrets and putting them out on paper!” laughs Tahira. However, the plan to make it all-women was an organic one, adds Dilshad. “In fact, we were considering some male elements in the play and went through an entire process of where we wanted to go with them. Somehow, we ended up taking this route,” she says. All-women technicians as well? “Well, it just sort of extended itself to that,” says Dilshad. “I think the men got scared of all the estrogen!” Tahira guffaws, while Prerna adds, “With such talented women around, we didn’t miss the men at all!”

You’d think that so many women coming together would probably incorporate a lot of male bashing, but Dilshad assures us that Dekh Behen is not that kind of play. “The conversation does revolve around men for a large part of the story but it’s not in a negative light,” she says, as Tahira adds, “It’s not a feminist play,” she says.

Got your back!

For the actors, too, the production has come like a breath of fresh air. Zayn Khan, who is part of the cast, says that for the first time, she thought she was hearing real women on stage. Ahlam, who was in two minds before saying yes to the project as she already has two running shows, plus a four-year-old at home, says she came on board immediately after reading the script. “Compliments to the writers!” Prerna exclaims, as everyone applauds. The relatability of the play is bound to touch a chord with everyone in the audience, they feel. “There’s a lot of ‘dekh behen, get over it’, ‘we’ve got your back’ and ‘here for you’ happening here. It’s like the sisterhood of the wedding party pants!” laughs Ahlam.

Mithila, who became a household name with the web series Girl in the City, is excited since it’s her ‘first original cast play’. The quizzical looks around make her explain, “I have done pieces where I have replaced others,” she says, adding that her character excited her. “She is going through what I’m going through in my life, the principals versus emotions conflict that we always face,” she says.

One of the best things about the play was that all of them have worked together in some or the other capacity. “Most of us have auditioned for Astha when she was working with casting director Mukesh Chhabra,” Prerna recounts, as Astha laughs, “When I was added to the WhatsApp group, I thought I will have to add more numbers. Then I realised I have all of them!” Dekh Behen will open at Cuckoo Club by The HIVE on Feb 1 and will be staged 5 times till Feb 4, 2018.

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