“Chuhal” brings banter and love to Hindi theatre, Dubai

CHUHAL: {HINDI noun, often attribute} Mirthful or Merry Banter

I love a good love story. Don’t you? 🙂

Chuhal is a beautifully written, introspective contemporary 2016 play about falling in love with yourself as well as another wonderfully different individual. Manav Kaul, a fellow Kashmiri Pandit, is an award-winning Indian author, director, playwright, actor and film-maker lauded for his work in notable films like Badla, Kai Po Che, Tumhari Sulu and plays such as Ilham, Park and Shakkar ke Paanch Daana to name a few.

After reading his vast list of accomplishments, I can see why Dawn Theatre Productions’ Director Huda Bhaldar holds him in such high regard and can’t wait to bring two shows of Chuhal to the Dubai stage at the Junction Theatre on August 30th. 

Chuhal Cast
With the merry cast of Chuhal during their rehearsals

The story follows Sudhir and Aarti, two strangers who find themselves attracted to each other despite their contrasting personalities, desires from life and definitions of happily ever after.

Chuhal masterfully balances nostalgia for simpler times in early 1990s small town India – where building a relationship in no part involves the fast pace of social media or Uber-ing to your crush’s hometown – with a modern woman’s perspective.

“Manav Kaul has written Chuhal from a strong woman’s perspective, who doesn’t want to get married but does fall in love,” explains Huda. “It’s about the journey of two people getting to know themselves better. Chuhal is a mirthful introspection of oneself in love.”

Huda saw the show’s premiere in Mumbai in 2016 and has wanted to bring it to Dubai ever since!

It’s a subtle, playful and powerful play that promises to be just as entertaining. Check out the leading couple, Saif and Sadia’s shoutout on #nikitalyfe for the show! 🙂

Interestingly, Huda Bhaldar chose the additional challenge of staging two versions of show with differing leads. Salem Surani and Lavina Jaswani will present their version of Sudhir and Aarti at the first show while Saif Khan and Sadia Pathan will play the leading couple for the second. It’ll be interesting to see the different flavors each pair draws out of the script as Huda discovers new Sudhirs and Aartis.

“It’s a great challenge to do a full length love story in Hindi,” says Sadia Pathan. “you’ll get all the masala, emotions and fun of a Hindi movie in this play!”

The cast was kind enough to invite me for one of their early rehearsals for a sneak peek, and though they were just about off-book at the time, I was already riveted by the few cliff-hanging scenes Huda selectively showed me.

It was also fascinating to see Saif Khan, who I last saw as a high-energy Satwa shoe salesman in Cindelala, transform into introverted, shy Sudhir.

“He’s selectively extroverted introvert, you know?” describes Saif. “He opens up with the people he can connect with and honestly that doesn’t happen often for this old-school boy. And then he meets Aarti. He’s always seen himself through others’ eyes, and this is when he really starts to see himself as his own individual for the first time. There are so many layers!”

I look forward to hearing what you all think of Chuhal this Friday 🙂

Tickets are available on Book My Show and at the Junction theatre for Dhs. 60. Showtimes are August 30th 2019 at 4:30PM and 7:30PM. Until next time, keep exploring! ❤ xoxo nikitalyfe

Chuhal cast photo
The Cast of Chuhal (PC: Dawn Theatre Productions)

Author: Nikita Taimni

A Dubai-based blogger, I write about travel, theatre and lifestyle in the cities I explore around the world. Follow me on Instagram @nikitalyfe and follow via email if you enjoy reading my posts!

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