After playing a variety of roles, Lubna finds herself playing the challenging role of Draupadi in Salim’s next play. She speaks to CS about why she thinks today’s woman will identify with Draupadi:
The play is about Yudhishtir and the relationship he had with Draupadi. She fell in love with Arjun, while the other four brothers were gifted to her. Nobody asked her whether she wanted to be with them or not. Yudhishtir, being the eldest brother, is her first husband then. She’s in love with Arjun while Yudhishtir is in love with her. It’s a triangle which gets resolved here.
The other four brothers had other relationships over a period of time except for Yudhisthir, so there was a lot unsaid about why he did not have any other relationship. So this is a very different way of looking at Mahabharata. It’s when Yaksh is asking Yudhishtir questions that Draupadi realises for the first time that she’s always been the one for him. And so the relationship culminates in this respect and new found love for him.
Draupadi in modern times
Mahabharata has given birth to all the stories we have in India today. Everytime you look at it there’s something new to explore. And we wanted to explore the relationship between Yudhishtir and Draupadi in a new way. I find so many similarities between Draupadi and today’s woman. While women have her feelings, likes, dislikes and are assertive, there are still a lot of women today who can’t follow their desires. In many ways I relate her to today’s world. This woman is very much today’s woman and all her trials and tribulations are very much today’s.
Salim, the taskmaster
Salim is the most difficult taskmaster! After every play I promise myself that I will never work with him again! (laughs) But on a serious note, he’s a hard taskmaster in the sense that he expects perfection and he has the confidence that we will deliver. With Salim I’ve done just five plays but since we’re husband and wife, people put two and two together and assume we only work with each other. We do a play with each other just once or maximum twice each year. As a director, he’s very open to suggestions. He gives his actors a lot of space to move. That’s what I like about him. I don’t look at him as a husband when we’re working together.