Delhi Daughters play in Sydney!

Delhi Daughters 1


Sunali Bhandula and Cheryl Khurana playing the daughters in Delhi Daughters

By Neena Badhwar

Indian community has witnessed many stage plays that are now being enacted still the scene is lacking in migrant Indian issues that are yet to find a genre and a spot in the field of theatre in Australia.

Finally a fine play is shaping up in Sydney which looks at arranged marriage and all the tussle that happens between generations to do with marriage.   A lot of work has been done by Aishveryaa Nidhi whose independent company Abhinay School of Performing Arts  has presented ”˜Delhi Daughters’ having contributed local actors. Abhinay is known for its local themes by Indian and other nationality writers and actors having broken the glass ceiling of only Aussie themes and ideas through Short + Sweet Theatre festival with plays in English as well as in Hindi and Punjabi.

Says Aish, “This is the first time that I am little relaxed,” why we ask, “Because I knew I was in safe hands after introducing Sala Abrahim to co-writer Vee Malnar, winner of Best Overall Production in Short + Sweet, Sydney 2014. Vee has put in a lot of effort with Sala in writing the play which has taken more than a year to fine tune the script. We have Tom Richards directing the play. He was the winner of Best Director, Short + Sweet, Sydney 2014. Abhinay got the cast together with Vee  coordinating  the rehearsals. We’ve been rehearsing since August two days a week and the whole team is excited to  perform this coming weekend.”

Aishveryaa plays the mother of her Delhi Daughters, played by Cheryl Khurana and Sunali Bhandula, caught between them and her husband. She portrays her own dilemma of who to follow, her frustrated husband, or the rebellious daughters or her own confusion about how a marriage should happen. While she is elated at the thought of  the betrothal of her daughter she cannot help but interfere in planning of the wedding as she is pulled on both ends not knowing which way to go. “It is a story, which a lot of Indian Australian families will relate with,” says  Aish.

‘I am very thankful to Tim  Carroll  of BYDS for his support and encouragement and Nita Tanna for sponsoring our decor,’ says  Aish

Director, Tom Richards, says about the play, “It has certainly opened my eyes up to see something different me being from a white Caucasian perspective. Though working with Indian cast is quite different still people have worked hard, are keen and have shown professional attitude although it is quite difficult to juggle our normal life routine as well as the rehearsals which have been going for few months now. It’s a pity that the play gets to be staged just for two days after all that input. I wish it was played longer.”

Vee Malnar, co-writer with Sala Abrahim an African, says, “It is purely based on a short ready script that Sala brought to me couple of years back and we together developed ”˜Delhi Daughters’ into a full length play.”

“I co-wrote it with him as we met every week or every two weeks for more than a year.”

She adds, “When we workshopped the play reading last year with actors they also contributed a lot and suggested things and expressions in Indian context.”

“Coming from quite a privileged society  where one has the complete freedom of  choice it was interesting to see how sexism exists in traditional gender roles that exist in an Indian setting. Not that such situations do not arise in every culture yet to see through an Indian angle and find how similar we can be regardless of colour or race that we come from. In Delhi Daughters is  this father who gives full freedom to his daughters in making their choices in education yet when it is to do with the choice of choosing a partner by them he is not only fearful but prejudiced in his own way. He is like any father anywhere in the world who is protective of his daughter. For me the process of going through this play was a revelation in its own way how universal we are in our fears of the unknown and that things are not as simple as they may seem. We talked about it a lot and looked at the issues deeply. Even to look at prejudices that are there in a multicultural society that we live in and tolerate characters who could carry prejudices without realising as compared to others who are outright and openly prejudiced. I must thank Abhinay who have helped make this play happen.”

The setting of the play may be Delhi but its daughters and all other characters are from Sydney.

Supported by Bankstown Youth Development Services, Delhi Daughters stars Cheryl Khurana, Sunali Bhandula, Aishveryaa Nidhi, Ravi Chanana, Carlos Sivalingam, Aviral Mohan, Ashish Kumar and Nisar Sirgough.

TIDU highly recommends all to see this play which will be  staged on two days ”“ 29th and 30th of November,2014.

The  VENUE is  Bankstown Arts Centre, 5 Olympic Parade in   Bankstown. Time is 6.30 pm for 7 pm start.  Tickets $20. and $15 concession through:


Delhi Daughters

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