Sundays with Chitra and Chaitali by Isheeta Ganguly reinvents the Tagore classic and gives it a modern spin
Welcome Theatre, an eighteen-year-old initiative by ITC Hotels, is bringing Sundays with Chitra & Chaitali, written and directed by Isheeta Ganguly for the first time in Hyderabad, this weekend. This dramatic comedy with its prime focus being gender was written by her in a span of around three months and was commissioned by the National Centre for the Performing Arts Centrestage festival in November 2017. “This is the first time it will be viewed in Hyderabad, after travelling to Chennai, Bengaluru and Kolkata,” says the writer-director who grew up in the United States, albeit surrounded by the works of Rabindranath Tagore and his music ever since she was six.
She was always steadily exposed to Rabindra Sangeet and it was when she went to study at Brown University, Providence, that she developed a keen interest in Tagore’s women while she was studying there. “What really struck me was how powerful these women were and their stories were. There were such deep pearls of wisdom. And these stories are almost cathartic,” says Isheeta, explaining why she decided to revisit the Tagore classic Chitrangada while writing this play.
“My rendition will have a double narrative — it will exhibit the dialogues of these two women, which is witty, full of banter and modern, almost like the television show Sex and the City, which will further fuse with a more classical retelling of the tale of the Manipuri warrior princess, as written by Tagore,” informs the writer. Chitra and Chaitali, who are almost foils of each other’s characters, dwell on their identities, their elusive relationships with men and careers. The Chitrangada of the classics is played by New York City-based actress Shubhra Prakaash, Kohmal Khanna plays the modern Chitra and Prerna Talwar plays Chaitali while Tushar Kawale portrays the role of Arjun.
June 15, 8.30 pm onwards. At ITC Kakatiya.