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On the 12th of November, a production of ‘Salaam, Noni Appa’ was staged at G.D. Birla Sabhagar. The play was contrived from Twinkle Khanna’s short story (entitled the same), from her bestseller ‘The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad’. Directed by the stellar dramatist Lillete Dubey, the delectable little comedy was an absolute delight to behold.

The cast comprised Lillete Dubey, who played the lead, Noni Appa, Darshan Jariwalla as Anand Ji, the simple-minded yoga instructor, Jayati Bhatia as Noni’s effervescent sister Binny, Meher Acharya Dar as Noni’s daughter Mallika as well as Anand Ji’s wife, and finally, Rishi Khurana, who played the part of Baburam the watchman.

The play revolved around the life of Noni Appa, a sophisticated and highly respectable Islamic widow who greatly prided herself in her spotless, unblemished reputation. Always accompanying her vivacious and lively sister Binny, whose quest was to never be bored, the two elderly ladies find themselves in the company of the humble and sober Anand Ji, their aged yoga instructor, for a yoga class upon Binny’s adamant insistence. While Binny kept evading the physical exertion she so disliked, Noni and Anand Ji form a strong, concrete friendship, cemented by mutual understanding of one another and of the world. The pleasant comedy depicts how Noni Appa and Anand Ji ultimately overcome their fears of being judged by society to come together in a serene and sentimentally fulfilling bond of love.

The play contained some humorous topical references too, which tickled the audience greatly. While steeped in comic elements, the play is seen to contain a philosophical strain, as seen when Noni decides that there’s more to life than the way others perceived her, or how Anand Ji overcomes his failed and abusive marriage. Both characters experience an awakening upon the realisation of a new ideology, which earns them peace and further joy in one another’s company. However, the play never once became overbearing with seriousness. Its constant lightness made it absolutely wonderful.

All the actors did a good job playing their respective characters. Lillete Dubey’s performance was extraordinary, as is familiar to all her fans. Her portrayal of the classy, yet sensitive Noni Appa was fantastic. She breezily brought the character to life, causing her audience to be completely enchanted. Darshan Jariwalla’s depiction of Anand Ji in the character’s classic simplicity and sincerity was equally magnificent and moving. Jayati Bhatia’s Binny was truly entertaining, teeming with energy and vitality in all aspects. Meher Acharya Dar’s presentation of both the calm Mallika, as well as Anand Ji’s crass and unbecoming wife was telling of her talent. Rishi Khurana as the innocent country bumpkin watchman was also a joy to watch.

The play’s execution was smooth, keeping the audience thoroughly engrossed at all times. After the performance ended, Lillete Dubey thanked the audience for their attentiveness with utmost grace.