‘A new play is almost like childbirth’
Trust actor-director Lillete Dubey to always take the path less travelled. An adventurous soul, Lillete enjoys challenging and exciting work. Currently touring with her new play, Salaam Noni Appa, the actor compares her part in the play with her role in the film, Monsoon Wedding (2001). “It is a simple role and the soul of Noni Appa is very similar to what I played in Monsoon Wedding. In a way, she is an everyday person, who is endearing and relatable. She is very close to my age and nothing dramatic happens to the character. It is a nice change for me,” says Lillete. Adapted from the book,The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad by Twinkle Khanna, the play has been written by Adhir Bhatt, directed and produced by Lillete’s theatre company. Was it easy to adapt a best seller? “It is difficult to adapt a book into a play for many reasons. A new play always has me concerned, it is like childbirth where you are anxious whether the newborn is healthy and normal. The entire process is like going through labour. But I have always liked to take the thorny path. I am not someone who likes it easy.” As an artiste, Lillete believes in following her gut and heart. “You have to trust your instincts and then it is your job to communicate this feeling to your audience. I get bored working on the same subjects. I look forward to working on something that will have a certain stamp of my individuality. This is why, I produce my work too. It is not easy donning so many hats in one play. It gets horrible and exhausting.” On the selection of the story, she adds that the essence of the story, the world it is set in and the sincere writing of Twinkle appealed to her. “You cannot get every line of the book in the play yet you must get the layers, the humour and an emotional core. Getting a male writer on board was also a good decision as it gets in the male gaze. Also, Adhir has a good sense of emotion and a knack for comedy,” says Lillete.