Junglee Booti, which is also about a love triangle, revolves around two men and a woman.
Perhaps the only common ground between the iconic American actor and director Woody Allen and Punjabi writer and poet Amrita Pritam, is that they can both be considered to be ahead of their times. However, theatre director and actor Akriti Singh has found more common ground between the two, so much so that she has decided to showcase both their stories for her production — Some Raw Love.
The production, which will debut on January 9, will also see the likes of Priyanka Setia and Swati Das, two names popularly connected with the play, Vagina Monologues. Singer Sriparna Chatterjee will also be lending her voice for Hindi, Punjabi and French songs spaning the show.
Akriti, who has been performing one of Amrita Pritam’s stories — Shah ki Kanjari — as a play, only discovered the similarity with Woody Allen’s The Kugelmass recently. “I am a big fan of Woody Allen and I love reading his work. When I came across The Kugelmass, I realised that it has striking similarities with Shah ki Kanjari, which I have been performing for over a year,” says Akriti. She elaborates that both stories follow the love triangle of two women and a man.
The third story, Junglee Booti, which is also about a love triangle, revolves around two men and a woman. “It is about a married woman, who falls in love with another man. I thought it would round off the theme of the play nicely,” Akriti explains.
Unlike many playwrights, Akriti likes to keep the purity of the original story. “I do not change even a single word in the dialogues. What I try to do instead is get inside the writer’s head to find out what he could have been thinking while he wrote it. This helps me both direct and act,” she says.
While doing her background research, she also stumbled upon quite a few fun facts. “The first story — Shah ki Kanjari — revolves around Neelum, a character which is actually based on a Pakistani singer named Tamacha Jaan,” she shares. “I also had a lot of fun researching the Italian, French, American Jewish and other accents in Woody Allen’s story and separating real accents from common stereotypes of these accents,” she adds.
A unique aspect of the play is the fluid nature of its cast, with each artiste playing multiple roles and even slipping between genders. “I am playing the character of both Shah and Neelum in the first story, and the character of Kugelmass in the second one. The other two women also switch roles in a similar fashion,” she says. “The ultimate goal of any play is to discover the truth of a character and this method of multiple roles helps to do just that,” she concludes.