About Aaj Rang Hai

5th March, Kamani Auditorium, 7:30pm

Nominated For: Best Play, Best Actor in a Leading Role (Female), Best Actor in a Leading Role (Female), Best Supporting Actor (Female), Best Supporting Actor (Female), Best Choreography, Best Director, Best Stage Design, Best Lighting Director, Best Innovative Sound Design & Best Costume Design

Produced By:
Aarambh and T Pot Productions
Directed By: Gopal Tewari and Purva Naresh
Language: Hindustani
Duration: 2 hrs 10 min (with Interval)
Aaj Rang Hai is about a baithak singer Beni Bai in a small town of Madhya Pradesh who uses her knowledge of history of Indian classical music to counsel her neighbours. An endearing fool, a lovable lafanga and an ever fuming bua draw you into a love story and a world where there is no conflict, only love and lots of music and dance. Hazrat Amir Khusraus poetry and music forms the background against which the story is told.

Purva: To tell the story, I rummaged through my childhood and the usual suspects resurfaced, smiled and walked into the plot.  Beni, my grandmother and Munnu, my grand uncle continue to haunt this play.  My mother’s research and music compositions on Hazrat Amir Khusrau found their way into the plot. I started weaving the threads to spin a story and realized that my problem was not lack of a love story but presence of too many love stories. The pattern which emerged was intricate, straddling multiple time frames and many thoughts and emotions.

I came on board to hold the framework steady, ended up adding more layers. Dhanendra joined the team for visual design and splashed more colours on to the already colourful canvas. Actors took the text and the diktat “has fun with it” a tad too seriously and the musicians simply went berserk. Trishla’s energy as a producer and actor knew no bounds. Very soon Purva and I were staring at a creature which was a labour of too much love and passion. This creature sang, danced, emoted, spoke too much and refused to adhere to any one particular format or rules. It at times wanted to jump off the stage and hug the audience. We tried to discipline it; it ended up breaking the fourth wall.  We tried to tame it, it wept and made each of us cry. We tried to mellow it down, it became even more emotional.  We stared hard at the creature and realized it was no ordinary entity.

Purva and Gopal:
When does a story become old, an idea trite and the premise dated?  We pondered and decided it was a vicious circle: As long as the need to tell the story is within us, the story is not old. As long as the ghosts are alive the need is not dead. As long as the need is not dead, the story needs to be told.


Gopal Dutt Tewari: Best Director, Best Innovative Sound Design
Gopal Dutt Tewar, an actor and lyricist, is a graduate from National School of Drama. He has worked with directors such as BV Karanth, Robin Das, Suneel Shanbagh and many. He has written songs for Aisa Kahte Hain, Refund, Namak Mirch amongst others. He does regular theatre and language workshops for Prithvi summertime in Mumbai, NSD extension programme in Delhi, and the northern hills. A freelance copywriter and lyricist, Gopal is active in theatre since 1996.
Purva Naresh: Best Director, Best Choreographer, Best Costume Designer
Purva Naresh is a graduate of FTII Pune, a trained Kathak dancer and a percussionist.  For stage, she has written Afsaneh Bai se Baiscope Tak, Abodana and Aaj Rang Hai. She has also adapted Ruskin Bond’s stories for stage for children in A Special Bond 1 and 2 and All About Women, and  a croatian play by Miro Gavran. She has worked with Makrand Deshpnade, Trishla Patel, Imran Rashid,  Akarsh Khurana ,  Quasar Padamsee as a writer, choreographer, costume designer and as a dialogue writer for Rohan Sippy and ad filmmakers  Sumantra Ghosal and Poo Sayani.
Trishla Patel: Best Actor in a Leading Role (Female)
Trishla Patel is an actor, director and producer. She has worked with Motley, Ansh and Pdt. Satyadev Dubey.  She has directed Don’t Look Now and Kumbh Katha. Kumbh Katha has been performed at Bharangam NSD Delhi in Jan 2011.
Ahlam Khan: Best Actor in a Leading Role (Female)
Daughter of the late Mr. Amjad Khan; Ahlam always had a passion for theatre. She and a group of her friends came together to form NOT QUITE THERE (NQT) – a theatre group starting with Me Grandad ‘Ad An Elephant! followed by Angst. Angst. Coonth. Coonth. Boom. Bam. Dhandhal. Dhamaal. Kaput.  and Time To Tell A Tale.  She has worked as producer and director for the plays Modd and Cast Party. Apart from the plays with NQT, she has worked with other theatre personalities in numerous plays.  She adapted Ismat Chugtai’s short story – Chauthi Ka Joda into a play titled Red Dress. She has also worked with Makrand Deshpande in Miss Beautiful, a successful Hindi play, which is now being made into a film. Ahlam is also working on writing film scripts; her first film is Highway 203.
Nishi Doshi: Best Supporting Actor (Female)
Nishi Doshi pursued her interest in Performing arts and French through her college years winning many accolades in the same and a subsequent diploma from the Alliance Francaise. She has engaged in theatre and film work as an actor, works as a professional voice-over artist, and is a drama facilitator with Theatre Professionals Pvt. Ltd. She has been facilitating her own ‘creative self-expression’ and ‘personal growth’ workshops for rural and tribal children and visually challenged students to help them enhance their language skills using the creative arts as a tool. She is a trained actor from Barry John Acting studio.
Preetika: Best Supporting Actor (Female)
Preetika began her acting career in November 2008. In the same year, she went on to win the best actress award at Thespo, for Proof (David Aubern). Ever since, she has worked in a number of plays with multiple theatre groups, both English and Hindi. Apart from the stage, she has also been associated with cinema. 
Priyanka Basu: Best Costume Design
Priyanka Basu did her Textile Design and Development course from National Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi and has worked as Set and Costume Designer for Yatri Theatre Asscociation. Apart from this,she has worked as Costume Designer for Pt. Satyadev dubey,  Mr.Jaimini Pathak, Ms. Trishla Patel, Mr. Gagan Riar and Ms.Purva Naresh.
Dhanendra Kawade: Best Stage Design, Best Lighting Director
Dhanendra Kawade has been involved with theatre for the past 20 years. It was the early eight year training under Dada Bangeshwar Mallick and three year work with ‘Rangshri Little Ballet Troupe’, Bhopal that made him skilled in designing, lighting and sound techniques. He has worked with many eminent theatre personalities before forming his own theatre company – 3rd Bell Productions in 2005 which has been responsible for successful staging of five plays. Besides writing and direction, he has done production design for several plays like Annoyance, Teen Ekant, End of Season, Once Upon A Tiger, Tukra’s Dream’, Hamlet and many more.
Vijay Naresh: Best Innovative Sound Design
Vijay Naresh is a film maker and a musician (Vocalist). He graduated from FTII Pune in Film Direction and worked with UP Sangeet Natak Academy, ISRO Ahmedabad, ICCR amongst other organizations. He has also composed and performed for All India Radio, music conferences and stage events in India and abroad.

Event Info:

  • Producer: Aarambh and T Pot Productions
  • Director: Gopal Tewari and Purva Naresh
  • Duration: Hindustani
  • Language: 2 hrs 10 min (with Interval)

Cast & Crew:

On Stage
  • Trishla Patel: Beni
  • Ahlam Khan: Bua
  • Imran Rashid/Hussain Dalal: Munnu
  • Pawan Uttam/Ali Fazal: Fanney
  • Preetika Chawla/ Prerna Chawla: Vidya
  • Nishi Doshi: Ameena
  • Rajeev Siddhartha: Maulvi /Allauddin
  • Raghav Dutt: Hindu Boy/Hawaldar
  • Debtosh Darjee: Tuuiyan
  • Aarifa Bhinderwala: Padmini
  • Sant Prakash: Hindu Boy2/Bishti
  • Shikha Gupta/Rajashri: Sharda’s Friends
  • Gagan Riar: Amir Khusrau/English Teacher
  • Purva Naresh: Sharda & Deval
Off Stage
  • Written by: Purva Naresh, Vijay Naresh
  • Music: Vijay Naresh, Gopal Tewari
  • Vocals: Megha Sriram, Haidar Baqsh and group, Gagan Riar
  • Musicians: Vivek Mishra, Mushtaq Khan
  • Lyrics: Hazrat Amir Khusrau
  • Additional Lyrics: Urmil Kumar Thapaliyal, Gopal Tewari
  • Light and Set design: Dhanendra Kawade
  • Costumes: Purva Naresh and Priyanka Basu