Once you’ve fallen deeply in love, not even societal objections can come in the way,” says Om Katare, writer and director of Yeh Jo Dil Hai Na. And that is the essence of his Hindi play, which premieres on August 9 at Juhu’s Prithvi Theatre.
Produced by theatre group Yatri Productions, the play is a love story spread over two generations. When the parents of a young girl find out that she’s getting married the very next day, they both have starkly different reactions. While her mother violently objects, her father, a professor, is much calmer about the situation. The irony of the situation is that the parents had eloped too.
Katare and his real-life wife Paromita Chatterjee play the role of the parents. While Katare’s role is low on drama, Chatterjee describes hers as that of a “drama queen”. “It’s very different from any of the mothers’ roles I have played before. She is very moody and very unpredictable — one minute she will reminisce about her youth and the next she will start nagging her husband,” chuckles Chatterjee.
The role Katare plays, on the other hand, is that of the mature husband. “The role suits me a lot. The professor is very laidback, relaxed and very clear-headed. He is not a dramebaaz and has no high-profile dialogues,” explains Katare.
The play is an adaptation of the 50 year-old Marathi play Prema Tuza Rang Kasa by Vasant Kanetkar. Mir Muneer, who has translated the play, says, “I have updated certain things about the play. The attitude of people 50 years ago was so different. The language back then was much purer, now it is dotted with English words. My translation keeps these things in mind.” There is a particular incident he has taken the liberty to change as well. “Back then when a girl came home after fighting with her husband, her mother would send her right back to her husband. But today parents are far more sympathetic about their daughter’s problems,” says Muneer.
Muneer — known for scripting television serials such as Saans, Chunauti and Campus — first watched the Marathi play when he was just a schoolboy. “The play had left an everlasting impression on me, and when Katare brought it to me I was immediately transported back in time. I decided I must take on the project,” reveals Muneer.
The cast has been working hard, rehearsing every evening since July 5. “No mobile phones are allowed and no one has been absent even for a single day,” Katare claims. But Chatterjee didn’t seem to mind. “We’ve been working together so long, that we’ve become like one big family. It’s a lot of fun,” she adds.