Purana Pyaar ★★★★½

A sweet romantic short film about a couple who found each other in the old age, and… ran away together!

Synopsis: Mrs. Sharma and Dev like each other and they want to be together. Like hundreds of the love stories, there families might not like it, and there is pressure to conform to social norms… But they still elope, together. The catch? They elope from an old age home!!

Our chitchat: After watching this film and the one before it – Khamakha – we are seriously thinking to add a new category – ‘soothing’ – in addition to traditional ones like comedy, thriller, satirical etc. which you regularly see on the review sites. After all, many a times, don’t we look out for entertainment just to sooth ourselves? Just to give us a break from all the hustles and bustles of the city? To find a corner away from daily activities? Purana Pyaar and Khamakha both have such a calming effect in this era of chaos and noise.

What works: This sweet short film has Mohan Agashe and Lillette Dubey in lead roles. The duo has acted very well, as is expected. Their simplicity in small things and actions bring the life in this short. The very small actions, as much as holding hands in a public bus is presented with such pleasantness. The slowness of the small town is captured not through words, but by the moving camera, narrow streets and leisurely walks. The short soothes you and while at it, gives you good music. As an added bonus, the scenic beauty of Dehradun is very well captured.

Negatives: There is no negative I could find in the movie except that it does not have any hook or a major climax or any suspense. Don’t expect it. We don’t expect it in our daily lives. Just watch and enjoy.

Verdict: Recommended for everyone.

AglaPlay Verdict: A soothing, sweet short film, must watch!
AglaPlay Rating: 4.5/5
Language: Hindi
Duration: ~20 minutes
Writer: Ambar Chakravarty
Director:  Ambar Chakravarty
Cast: Dr. Mohan Agashe, 
Lillette Dubey 
& Others


The biographical musical play is about the life of Gauhar Jaan, one of the first Indian performers to record music on Gramophone. Her life was adorned with professional achievements, and also scarred with repeated deceits by the people she trusted. The play answers many questions which may seem confounding to the TikTok/YouTube generation where recording and streaming is the norm. What was so special in being the first recorded female singer? The play not only takes the audience to the street of Calcutta where she was celebrated, but also inside her heart which was repeatedly cheated by everyone she trusted.

It is a great play and talks volumes of the capabilities of the director Lillette Dubey. The live performances – live singing by Zila Khan and the dance by Rajeshwari Sachdev, the music – themselves are worth of the ticket prices. The amazing portrayal by Rajeshwari (young Gauhar) and Zila Khan (old Gauhar) are powerful and memorable. Rajeshwari, who also gets the most opportunity among all the actors, shines in her role. The setup is also done well.

Talking of biographies, Bollywood styled masala-added bio-portrayals mutate the original lives so much that the end-product is pure fiction. This play steers clear of that crime, and suffers partly because of it. You see, like any other true biography and anyone’s life, the play has its dull moments. After all, in our like also we don’t achieve one milestone after another every year or every month!

The slow-paced, honest portrayal with great live performances is a must-watch for connoisseurs and theater enthusiasts. For others, please take note of the last paragraph.

AglaPlay Verdict: A must-watch for  connoisseurs and theater enthusiasts
AglaPlay Rating: 3.5/5
Language: Hindi / Urdu
Duration: 2 Hours+ 
Writer: Mahesh Dattani 
Director: Lillete Dubey
Cast: Zila Khan (Old Gauhar),
Rajeshwari Sachdev (Gauhar)
& Others

Below are a few relevant links.

Other Links
Trailer at YouTube 
Gauhar Jaan Wikipedia
Review at IndiaWest

Salaam Noni Appa

Salutations to sister Noni! Noni, the central character of the play is a widow in her sixties or seventies. She is graceful, calm and composed. In her contrast, her sole companion and sister Binny is full of life and energetic. Binny chooses a new hobby to dabble in every other week, while Noni keeps to herself, spending evenings with scotch reminiscing old days when she felt complete with her husband. After much persuasion from Binny, Noni agrees to practicing Yoga where she meets Anand Ji, the yoga teacher. They become friends. Noni no longer feels alone as earlier. But what is society’s judgement? Is the society even correct in its judgement? Anand has a family while Noni’s only daughter in thirties or forties is living in US, and is not married yet. The play gradually answers all these and comments on societal norms’ impact on the individual’s happiness.

Lillete Dubey’s direction comes through with flying colors yet again. A good actor, she is. She does justice to the roles on the stage as an actor, but what she does to as a director is magic. This play is yet another directorial masterpiece which strikes perfect balance of every emotion and every situation. The characterization is well done, and the cast fits the roles effortlessly.

Strongly recommended for the balance it strikes. The play impacts the progressive outward attitude of characters against regressive inner mindsets; yet manages to deliver it all on a lighter note. Weathering the traffic on road, tensions in office, with ever-increasing costs at home, the performance provides much needed thoughtful break to Mumbai audience!

AglaPlay Verdict: Do watch!
AglaPlay Rating: 4/5
Language: English
Duration: 90 minutes
Writer: Twinkle Khanna
Director: Lillete Dubey
Cast: Lillete Dubey (Noni Appa), 
Jayati Bhatia (Binny), 
Yatin Karyekar (Anand) & Others

Below are a few relevant links. The web links to other reviews are also provided for easy reference.

Other Links
Review at Broadway.com
Review at BookMyShow
The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad at Goodreads
Lillete Dubey Wikipedia 
Jayati Bhatia Wikipedia

Dance Like a Man

“Dance Like a Man” highlights the conflicts across three generations through the protagonist couple Jairaj and Ratna. Jairaj and Ratna are two aspiring passionate Bharatnatyam dancers. Jairaj’s father, the patriarch, is against a career in dance. Their conflicts, thoughts, aspirations form the core of the play. Darker secrets unfold as the story evolves, jumping back and forth between present and past.

What make this play great are the plethora of topics it touches and the justice with which the play treats each of these topics. The gender-biases are captured through the play, and specially how a man can be a victim. The protagonists are financially dependent on the patriarch shows the monetary realities of a love affair. The characters are very strong, well-written and Lillete’s direction is impeccable. The live dancing performances is the cherry on the top.

AglaPlay Verdict: A very good play, excellent direction
AglaPlay Rating: 4.0/5
Language: English
Duration: 2 hours

Below are a few relevant links. The web links to other reviews are also provided for easy reference. Do note however that this play written by Mahesh Dattani is has more than a few shocking revelations, which must be experienced to really enjoy the performance. The reviews below (particularly medium.com) sadly have gone to the extent of summarizing the complete story.

Other Links
Dance Like a Man Trailer
Lillete Dubey Wikipedia
Suchitra Pillai Wikipedia
Dance Like a Man Review on medium.com [spoilers]
Dance Like a Man Review on FII [spoilers]