The gorgeous Lillete Dubey met journalists from the Indian Journalists' Association on Wednesday 18th February at India House, to discuss her upcoming play at Watermans, UK.
Dubey who was in London for the 'orange carpet' premiere of the film Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 2, spoke about her role in the film, her chemistry with Richard Gere, elaborate Indian wedding shindigs, and moved on to talk about her dear friend Girish Karnad's play Boiled Beans on Toast.
One of the finest playwrights of our time, Girish Karnad's plays present a critical sense of history, myth, and time. This new play by Karnad has a reference to the founding lore of Bangalore, in which an 11th century king was saved by an old woman who offered him boiled beans. The grateful king desired to name the spot 'Bendakalooru', the place of boiled beans, which would symbolise hospitality and welcome for a weary traveller. However, over the period of time the place has emerged as Bangalore, India's 'Silicon Valley', now called Bengaluru.
The play is a sharp and witty observation of Indians living in a modern world. Set in Bangalore, the story follows the intertwining lives of six people and is an insightful slice-of-life portrayal of different classes of Indians co-existing under one roof.
Performed in English, the characters include a grand-mother who discovers a passion for horse racing; a not very bright maid who learns to answer back; a bored-housewife who fulfills herself by undertaking charity work – all life is there in this searing saga of a modern metropolis.
Director of this play, Lillete Dubey, an acclaimed actress of theatre, film and television, had set up Primetime Theatre Company in 1991. She has directed over 28 productions and several of them have been presented at Watermans, London.
Discussing many facets of her career, Lillete told Asian Voice that acting in plays will always remain the closet to her heart, much more than films. She explained how she loved the challenges of working in a theatre, something she considered much more personal. While she called Watermans her second home, she expressed her deep disappointment in Britain's Indian audience, who do not make the efforts to travel beyond central London, to discover the world of theatrical wonders.
Speaking about Boiled Beans on Toast, she added with a smile: “Girish Karnad's plays of the last decade are brilliantly sharp, tongue in cheek observations of a contemporary India, infused with an empathetic understanding of the foibles of human nature.
“Boiled beans on Toast is a deceptively simple play, that in a non linear narrative, lays bare the aspirations and hopes of a large mass of Indians today, but also subtly explores several modern themes such as urban migration, environmental concerns, consumerism etc, all laced with a great deal of warmth and humour.
“As a director, I find it challenging to bring out the subtle nuances of his work, and feel excited and privileged to premiere a play that will remain a mirror of our times for years to come.”
The cast features the best talent from Indian stage and screen - Joy Sengupta, Meenal Patel, Deepika Amin, Avantika Akerkar, Maneesh Verma, Swati Das, Avnish Mehra & Gillian Pinto.
Boiled Beans on Toast, Written by Girish Karnad, Directed by Lillete Dubey, Tuesday 10 – Sun 15 March 7.45pm. www.watermans.org.uk