What lies beneath?

Writer-director-actor Trishla Patel’s new play is a dance drama that deals with psychotherapy and features choreographer Sandip Soparrkar

“If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.” These were the famous words by renowned American poet, memoirist and civil rights activist Maya Angelou. Writer-director Trishla Patel’s new play, Jannat Central, also deals with this theme.

The story revolves around two girls, J and Nutty, who are different from each other and are facing various challenges in their respective lives. While one is struggling with even the most mundane of things, the other is trying to perfect her dance and get work. Things change with the arrival of a dance teacher and the antics of a friend called Bobby. But are all of them really what they seem to be, or is there something more to them?

The dance drama, which features Jaya Virlley, Anna Ador, Shashank Vishnu Dutt and Mithun Purandare in pivotal roles, is also the stage debut of choreographer Sandip Soparrkar and fashion model Alesia Raut.

Taking a break from her rehearsals, Patel explains the idea behind the script. “I wanted to question what people think is the normal way to behave in society. I might think I am a completely normal person, but in reality, my world may be completely different.”

Patel admits that working on this play was a challenge, as this is the first time she is helming a dance drama. “All my pieces usually feature live songs. But now, I have consciously stayed away from it. I wanted to explore the world of dance as I’m not too familiar with it. Dance binds all the characters together and has been used to explore a complicated father-daughter relationship.”

The actor-writer-director, who has always penned original works and directed a wide array of productions, including Kumbh Katha, Zinga Zinga Roses and May Day, adds that she had been planning to stage the piece for a year, but kept postponing it due to various reasons. Thankfully, she admits, it only gave her more time to develop the plot.

“The first draft had 14 actors, but now the drama features only six. I’m not possessive about the lines that each character says. I allow my actors to improvise, but I’m possessive about the story.”

Quiz her about what prompted her to cast Soparrkar and Raut, and she says, “I had Sandip Sir in mind while writing the script. Also, for Alesia’s role, we wanted a dancer. Sandip Sir suggested her name and that’s how she came on board. Since this is their first time on stage, my only brief to them was that they should react to the other person’s lines with ease. I’m glad that they have enjoyed the process.”

Soparrkar, on his part, is excited to simply act on stage and not choreograph any sequences. He says, “It’s an interesting play that explores how dance takes you back into your memories and what it truly means for an artiste. Diverse forms like zumba, samba, whirling, contemporary and hip hop have been used, which will hopefully cater to all kinds of audiences.”

Jannat Central will premiere at Prithvi Theatre at 6 pm on January 8. Details on

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 4:17:12 PM |

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