Of weddings and women

ByProma Chakraborty

Jul 19, 2019

Dekh Behen, presented by Akvarious Productions, captures the essence of a big, fat Delhi wedding, celebrating womanhood as it unfolds

Be it in movies, web series or theatre – stories from the rather colourful Delhi wedding scene hit off quite well across all mediums. The popularity of recent productions like Veere Di Weeding, Made in Heaven and Dekh Behen stands testimony to the same.

So, what makes them click? The answer perhaps lies in its quite apt portrayal of the larger- than-life grandeur of Delhi weddings and all the drama that it brings along.

“Well, who doesn’t like a good wedding? Delhi weddings are the best. They are the biggest, most opulent and they are the places with the best gossip,” Prerna Chawla, co-director of Dekh Behen puts it simply.

Capturing this very essence of weddings, Dekh Behen is a play which is all about women, brought together by an all women cast and crew.

Set in a Chhattarpur farmhouse, where a big fat Delhi wedding is underway, the real action takes place in a bedroom. Merely hours before they need to put up their rehearsed dance performance on stage, five bridesmaids catch up on gossip, vent their frustration and express their distaste about their identical outfits, eating and drinking all the while. But that’s not the only thing they have in common. They all dislike the bride.

Akvarious Productions presents a fully female cast and crew in a bittersweet comedy about daughters, girlfriends, mothers, sisters, wives, all getting through one ‘bloody shaadi ka function’. Inspired from the title and premise of Alan Ball’s Five Women Wearing the Same Dress, Dekh Behen is a funny, irreverent and touching celebration of the women’s spirit.

With over 50 shows in the past one year, Dekh Behen is now all set to be performed again in the city.

The play perhaps owes its popularity to not shying away from depicting women as their true selves – one where they speak their mind, peppered with some very obscene language, which is natural but perhaps not seen enough.

Depicting urban women, these characters have been carefully written so as to appear authentic — much to the appreciation of the audience.

Bringing together a group of distinctly varied kind of women who have their fair share of problems, it’s a mixed bunch, much like a real wedding. “A wedding has so many characters, so many interactions, so many different representations of life,” says  Chawla.

It’s this  group of well-developed characters with which the audience are bound to relate to at some level.

An ensemble cast with Astha Arora, Dilshad Edibam Khurana, Prerna Chawla, Shikha Talsania, Tahira Nath Krishnan and Zayn Khan — this 75-minutes play keeps the audience engaged till the very end.

Akarsh Khurana, the producer of the play feels that this piece is a rage as it depicts woman in an uninhibited manner. “I wanted to do a full-length play that had the same abandon,  showing all sides of women and not just stereotypes.”

Talking about the all-women team he adds, “We’ve gone one step ahead of an all-female cast — this production also has an all-female crew. Writers, directors, technicians, designers, there isn’t a man in sight — besides me. But once I gave a go ahead to the script, I’m keeping my distance and signing the occasional cheque from afar. With regards to the ladies involved, it is a nice mix of old Akvarious mainstays and new entrants with access to a completely new audience. I wanted to open up to more than just our loyalists. And I wanted there to be new energies in the rehearsal room.”

And it has been all fun and games for the team as well. “These women are amazing and superbly cast. Shikha (co-director) and I are good friends and work well together. There’s nothing preventing me from having a blast,” says Chawla.

“It helped that the play is about a group of women, a topic not too far from our hearts. So dialogue writing came quite naturally to us,” adds Dilshad Edibam Khurana, one of the writers.

Celebrating sisterhood, as the title of the play suggests, Dekh Behen makes the audience feel as if they are a part of the sisterhood. Sharing their woes and supporting one another, this play is an honest take on womanhood and the big fat Indian wedding.

“People should come and watch a bunch of women simply having a lot of fun at a wedding. You will not regret it,” concludes Chawla.

The play will be staged at Epicentre, Gurgaon on July 27