The contemporary Marathi play White Lily Aani Night Rider is staging a comeback in theatres two years post the tragic death of veteran lead actress Rasika Joshi. Popular film and theatre actress Sonali Kulkarni talks to The GUIDE on playing the same character and how the Marathi theatre has evolvedlately:
A contemporary play
The play White Lily Aani Night Rider is a contemporary play - a black comedy on online dating. It tells the story of a man and a woman in their 40s and the way they get involved in online chatting and through which they meet each other.
The role I had to grab
We had never thought that the play can be revived again after Rasika passed away. But when co-director and co-writer Milind Phatak told me about the comeback and asked me to play the role, my instinct told me to grab the opportunity with open hands. I know I cannot match her energy levels or imitate her acting style. Hence we have made some changes in the script keeping in mind the times. The script was written four years ago and a lot of technological developments have happened since then. So, we have introduced a few changes in the play. I have also become the producer for the first time. But as an actress, I have tried to keep my acting style according to the flow of the character.
Need for dialogue in relationships
The play is about a couple meeting online and the growth of their respective characters. The bottom-line of it is ‘however advanced we get, there is always the need of a communicative dialogue between two people’. Lack of communication harms the relationship more than anything. White Lily… is a contemporary play and subjects like this prove that Marathi theatre has gone far ahead compared to regional theatre elsewhere. Writers and directors here are willing to go off-beat even if they don’t succeed at first. We have original writers like Vijay Tendulkar who are open and receptive about new ideas. Marathi theatre is the brightest spot in the Indian theatre scene currently.
I believe in investing time
The team has welcomed me with open arms as I was the newest entrant amongst the already set team. Hence, I feel responsible to give my best. We have rehearsed for three months to get the act right. My character, ‘Bhakti’ is in her late 30s and is looking for a partner. But she is not ready to compromise on certain things as well. To play a complex role like her, I try to drag similarities from routine life to perform it because feelings like rage and anger are present even in normal people like you and me. My observation all through these years helped me to portray this particular role. Portraying simple things is always difficult; but if you are 100% sincere to your work, it pays back. Hopefully, the audience will like me in this role. The play White Lily Aani Night Rider will hit the theatres in Pune on June 1 and June 10.