Theatre and music have been Isheeta Ganguly’s parallel passions. As a playwright, her work in Three Women and Shakuntala Awaits has been appreciated. On the musical front, she has learnt Rabindra Sangeet from the great Suchitra Mitra and Hindustani classical music from Vijay Kichlu of the ITC Sangeet Research Academy. About her English play Sundays with Chitra and Chaitali that will be staged this evening, Ganguly says, “It is inspired by Rabindranath Tagore’s character Chitra [from Chitraganda] and [the female warrior] Chitra from the Mahabharata. It is set in a contemporary situation.”
The musician/playwright says her inspiration stems from the classics, “While I learnt Rabindra Sangeet and read Tagore from an early age, I later followed the works of Ayn Rand, Jhumpa Lahiri, Arundhati Roy and Amitav Ghosh.” Ganguly’s musical influences are eclectic having stayed in the US, Turkey, Japan and Indonesia, she’s been exposed to different cultures. “In New York, I heard a lot of jazz, pop and rhythm ‘n’ blues, which naturally comes through in my music,” she says. Ganguly has released seven albums so far. Her fusion album, Damaru – I Feel The Rhythm has been arranged by composer Shantanu Moitra and tabla exponent Tanmoy Bose. Ganguly has collaborated on a number of acclaimed multimedia Tagore fusion projects including Chiranthan with Amitabh Bachchan and Tanushree Shankar, Still I Rise with danseuse Mallika Sarabhai, A Tribute to Tagore with the late Ustad Vilayat Khan and Riot with actress Shabana Azmi and Madhur Jaffrey. She’s also completed a screenplay adaptation for Three Women for Yashraj Films which is in pre-production.
In this evening’s play, Ganguly’s characters both from South Bombay – Chitra and Chaitali are alter-egos of each other and yet have a lot in common. Both women are young professionals dating men who haven’t committed as yet. They meet over five Sundays to share the quirks and inanities of these men. “Each woman wishes she could be more like the other,” says Ganguly, who has written and directed the play.
The music has been composed by Bollywood mainstay, Pritam and the cast features Gunjan Saini, Tushar Kawle, Kohmal Khanna and Barbie Chakraborty.
Sundays with Chitra and Chaitali will be staged this evening at the Royal Opera House, Girgaum at 8 p.m.; for more details see bookmyshow.com