BWW Review: SALAAM NONI APPA Adapted From Twinkle Khanna's Book is a Play About Breaking Stereotypes
Beautifully presented, the play tells the story of a widow woman who is in her retirement years. Quite unexpectedly, at this juncture she finds love and companionship in her yoga teacher. And then comes the dilemma on if she can marry at this age or should she think about her daughter of marriageable age.
The story is adapted from Twinkle Khanna's bestseller, The legend of Lakshmi Prasad and is taken from a chapter by the same name in the book. In the play, Lillette plays Noni Appa, a well-maintained and sensible woman who is in her 70s. She finds moments of fun and de-stressing in her sister Binny who is played by Jayati Bhatia. Lillettem, a versatile actress carries the graceful demenour of Noni Appa with great aplomb. She is also quite forward thinking in her approach as she does not want to persuade her young daughter in London to look for a groom and get 'settled.' Instead she believes in giving her space. Her sister Binny though, differs in her outlook and often coaxes Noni Appa to look for a boy for her daughter. The duo decide to join Yoga to find some de-stressing outlet. The Yoga teacher, played by Yatin Karyekar adds an unexpected turn in Noni Appa's life. While following the trend of Yoga and portraying the fad the regimen has become, there is a silent chemistry brewing between the two aged folks. A lovely friendship flourishes between Anandji, the Yoga player and Noni Appa. Even though there is an age gap and Anandji is younger to Noni Appa, they strike an unlikely bond. Anandji is himself trapped in a bad marriage but the decision to get married to him at this age seems insurmountable to Noni Appa.
The story takes another sweet turn as as Noni Appa falls ill and is cared by Anandji. During these moments, the two discover the strength of their feelings. The Yoga teacher leaves his wife and Noni Appa, is persuaded by Binny to get married to Anandji.
The biggest strength of the story remains the beautiful emotions fine tuned to excellence. Every actor does a terrific job and it is a heartfelt story that you would like to catch for raw, relatable emotions.
The stage show has been receiving a lot of love from audiences and was recently staged again in Mumbai. But if you happen to be in Singapore this summer, then you can catch the show on its international journey there too.
May 3 &4
Drama Centre, National Library, Victoria street, Singapore