A wedding and a whole lot of issues that emerge when you see this album











Saba Abdi, director of ‘Wedding Album’ with Sumi Krishnan

By Neena Badhwar

An interesting Sunday has been shaping up, all decorated, all rehearsed, all costumes decided with a lot of hard work gone in for the past one year. Yes, a whole one year. And the scene is set at the prestigious NIDA ”“ the National Institute of Dramatic Arts. It is the staging of the play ‘Wedding Album’ by the Adakar Theatre & Cultural Group.

Says Saba Abdi, director of ”˜Wedding Album’ ”“ a Girish Karnad play, who she says she knew him for the last 35 years and had a deep desire to direct one of his plays, “Wedding Album is the story of characters that happens in the backdrop of a family wedding. It  revolves around the family with depicting people and their lives living on different levels, with different aspirations and expectations based on conflicts around caste, traditions versus modernity, morality vs sin, young vs the old, desi vs NRIs thus  giving it a globalised look and a very interesting set of situations that occur in a two and half hour length play.”

“It is a story of many women. A middle class mother who is traditional, a maid servant whose story runs parallel and also of her daughter who has gone all wrong. The maid servant ignores her daughter because of self-preservation of her job. There is also issues with the elder daughter who is supposedly a happily married rich NRI settled in Australia. The boy is a suitable groom sought by the family who hails from America and has different set of expectations while the bride, though young and from contemporary India, is still seeped in politically correct thoughts ”˜what will people think’ when faced with the dilemma of a cancelled marriage as she goes ahead with it no matter what.”

“Basically it is a very modern, contemporary story that will appeal everyone from any walk of life, and every nationality as it portrays a global culture.”

Says Saba, “I am very happy with the response especially from the audience which is a mix of Indian, Pakistani and general Australian community. I am sure the play will resonate with everyone.”

About the actors, she says, “I must say there is a lot of talent in Sydney. The Adakar Theatre & Cultural Group has given a platform for self-expression and has helped link the two ”“ the older and the younger generation. To which I always used to say ”˜do kashtiyon pe sawaar’ alagh alagh. But this play has really brought the two together. My daughter Tamanna is helping with the social media and publicity while young Pragya Maini is doing the photography. We have a good, young talented creative team. And the actors Aparna Tijoriwala, Bobby Malik, Preeti Thadani, Karthik Mohandas, Vedant Tijoriwala and Pragya Goswami have all put in a lot of hard work as they have had easily over a couple of dozen rehearsals over the year which started in August last year.”

How has it been directing novices and the actors who are professional here in  Sydney as compared to directing a play that Saba is used to in India, “Some in the cast are really good like Aparna Tijoriwala. With others I  had to work a bit yet I tend to listen to a lot of the suggestions that come from young actors who are acting for the first time. Its been a pleasure.”


TIDU also talked to Preeti Thadani, who plays the role of the elder sister in the play, says she, “I am the trophy wife and a sister, a rich NRI who is perceived to have settled well in Australia. I am supposed to have all the answers and someone who the family can always turn to in times of need, emotional, financial or any other. Yet I have issues, repressed issues that come out as tensions flare at this wedding. I realise that I, like my mother, have also been subservient though we belong to different generations. So there is a lot of anger, frustrations that come out yet there is a lot of fun and mazaq along the way.”

Preeti adds, “It has been a big journey for me. It is not as if we are only rehearsing when we meet. There is a lot of work that I have done practicing myself alone at home. I am sure others have done that too. For me who has acted in dance dramas before, acting in a full length play was a totally different experience, really.”

The play Wedding Album is being staged on Sunday May 1 at NIDA Theatre on Anzac Parade. People who have missed out may be able to see it again in September, “Hopefully we may do it under the ”˜Festival of India’ program,” Saba says.



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