The AC Shamiana of Tollygunge Club was bubbling with excitement as we awaited the arrival of the legendary stars, Shabana Azmi, Lillette Dubey and Aparna Sen, all on the same platform and introduced by none other than Nandita Palchoudhuri, on April 7th.

The evening opened with the reading of the script from Aparna Sen’s new film Sonata and closed around discussions where all the women on stage spoke of current women-centric issues. We got to see a glimpse of the movie’s trailer, peaking our interest in the film further.

The women on stage made the power-packed starry evening very memorable for which all the credit goes to The Library Initiate of the Tollygunge Club. What took us all by surprise was that the Rabindrasangeet songs in the film were all sung by Shabana Azmi herself. The Film has been directed by Aparna Sen and the music composition is by Neel Dutt.

Aparna Sen’s film Sonata is in English and based on Mahesh Elkunchwar’s play. Set in an affluent suburb of Mumbai, it explores the relationships between three unmarried women, Aruna Chaturvedi (professor) played by Aparna Sen, Dolon Sen (banker) played by Shabana Azmi and Subhadra Parekh (journalist) played by Lillette Dubey. The subject matter of this 17-year old play appears relevant even today as it highlights friendships and bonding between women.

Aparna revealed that two new characters have been introduced in the film not originally in the play. One comes from a variant economic stratum and is other a transgender. She mentioned that the movie’s ending has been altered and is expected to take the audience totally by surprise!

Quoting Aparna Sen: “The film celebrates the friendship between the three women. It is a psychological exploration of three unmarried women facing a mid-life crisis”. Adding to it Shabana said: “What is interesting in the film is that it is not only about friendship but family, which is changing in India. The conventional gender roles are being redefined. That is the beauty of Sonata.”

Aparna Sen’s film Sonata releases on April 21st.