Dia left her small village of Shamli 11 years ago for New York, and has never once looked back or regretted it. But when she unexpectedly gets word that her guru is on his deathbed, she drops everything and rushes back to India with her daughter Radha in tow. Upon their arrival in Shamli, Dia learns that her guru is dead, and Ajanta theatre is slated to be torn down to make way for a shopping complex. Ajanta, where Dia learned to dance, to feel, to live.
So Dia decides to save Ajanta.
The local MP-cum-Raja strikes a deal with Dia: if she can put on a successful show cast entirely with Shamli residents, Ajanta will be spared. Dia decides to put on a production of Laila-Majnu, and goes about casting the show from among the village residents; hilarity ensues. Eventually the cast is complete, and everyone gets down to work learning their roles. Will the cast come together and deliver a stellar performance? Can Ajanta be saved?
This is a rather fluffy movie, and I kind of love it (a lot, I confess) for that. But what I love most of all about it is this: it shows the ENTIRE performance. So many movies show the rag-tag group of amateurs practicing their show, learning the ropes, honing their craft…and that’s all you see. You don’t get to see the actual performance. Maybe a snippet of the show, if you’re lucky. And having been a theatre nerd in a previous life, I hate that. Hate! But in this film, you get to see the entire Laila-Majnu performance, all glorious 20 minutes of it. 😀
(You may recognize this song if you saw the Bollywood episode of “Psych” this season)
source: personal copy