Sundeep Bhutoria

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Thursday, April 7, 2016

A play on Gauhar Jaan's life

April 7, 2016: Yesterday, I went to see the play Gauhar at the Birla Sabhaghar.
With Lillete Dubey, director of Gauhar Jaan
Gauhar or popular as Gauhar Jaan was a real life character – a gifted musician and dancer from Calcutta who was born as Angelina Yeoward in Azamgarh. She was of Armenian descent and her name was changed when her mother, after her divorce, converted to Islam and assumed the name Malka Jaan. 
The mother and daughter duo moved from Banaras in 1883 to the court of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah in Calcutta. She even bought a house in Rabindra Sarani.
Gauhar's was one of the first Indian voice to be recorded in 1902 and commercially circulated in the market. She is remembered for her free-spirited feisty nature.
It was a play in English directed by Lillete Dubey and written by Mahesh Dattani. The play had live singing and the cast included Rajeshwari Sachdev as Gauhar Jaan, Zila Khan, Denzil Smith, Anuj Gurwara, Danny Sura, Gillian Pinto and Pravishi Das.
With Rajeshwari Sachdev and Lillete Dubey
The play is based on the story of Vikram Sampat’s book My Name is Gauhar Jaan. Vikram is well known to me. I missed his presence and also Mahesh Dattani. Mahesh had informed me in Jaipur during the Write Circle that he would not be able to make it to Kolkata. But I did meet the director Lillete Dubey and the lead cast Rajeshwari Sachdev.
It was a packed house and Zila Khan as well as Rajeshwari Sachdev’s acting in the play kept the audience mesmerized. Quite a few people in Jaipur have also mentioned to me about this play wondering if it could be staged in Jaipur as well. Let's wait and see.
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