Mahesh Dattani’s GAUHAR Director: Lillette Dubey


Playwright: Mahesh Dattani 

Director: Lillette Dubey

Group: The Primetime Theatre Co., Mumbai

Language: English & Hindustani

Duration: 2 hrs

The Play & Director’s Note

This is a fascinating story of one of the classical superstars of her time and a fiery, feisty, independent minded woman of her generation, who was the first to sing on a wax record, and whose personal life was as mesmerising as her professional one. The play also offers an exciting glimpse of that period… Allahabad, Benares, Lucknow and Kolkata at the turn of the 20th century, both from the historical, political and cultural point of view! The play will have some live singing, though it is essentially a drama. It’s an important, powerful and moving story of a person who was a pioneer of the Thumri Tradition in Indian Classical Music and the play is a revelation for the younger generation, who know little about those times or about this great musician. Her story has all the ingredients for a very exciting and dramatic script, which will appeal not just to music lovers, but to lay audiences as well.

The Director

Lillette Dubey is a renowned Indian film and theatre actor and a theatre director. She has been Artistic Director of her own Theatre Company. The Primetime Theatre Company, for over 28 years and her theatrical work, which has travelled the globe, has been much acclaimed nationally and internationally, both in the sphere of actor and Director. Over a span of nearly 40 years, she has played the lead in over 60 theatre productions ranging from Shakespeare, Greek Tragedy, Brecht, Musical Comedies, Farce, Contemporary Drama, Absurd Theatre, to Contemporary Drama, including Ibsen, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, Pinter, Dario Fo, Edward Albee and a gamut of famous Indian playwrights, from Vijay Tendulkar, Partap Sharma, Mahesh Dattani, Girish Karnad, Mahesh Elkunchwar to name just a few.

Most of the plays she has produced and directed, platform outstanding Indian playwrights, and many have won Best Play of the Year awards, and many have received Best Director and Actor awards at National Festivals. Ms. Dubey herself has won several Best Actress awards for her plays and films, including for Adhe Adhure (META 2013), Pankh (Jagran Film Festival 2010), Driving Miss Palmen (Dutch TV 2007), Bow Barracks Forever (Madrid international Film Festival) and others.

Several of the Company’s productions, directed by Ms. Dubey, have traveled widely across India and abroad, with a few having played for long runs at the Bloomsbury Theatre & Watermans in London, at the Tribecca in New York, at the Portland International Performance Festival in the U.S, as well as in Chicago, San Francisco, Houston, Dallas, Washington DC, Stamford, Raleigh (North Carolina), Los Angeles, Boston and New York. 

The Playwright

Mahesh Dattani is a playwright, stage director, and filmmaker. In 1998 he won the Sahitya Akademi award for his published plays. His plays are taught in several universities across the country and internationally as well. The International Herald Tribune hailed him as “one of India’s best and most serious contemporary playwrights”. He lives in Mumbai.

The Group

The Primetime Theatre Company was set up in March 1991 with the twin objectives of providing a platform for original Indian writing in English and travelling with its work across India and abroad to showcase indigenous work in different cultures and milieus, and also explore performances in different spaces and venues. The company has tried to showcase its work to the largest possible audience at prestigious International and National Festivals to Educational Institutions of all kinds, from Supper Theatre to some of the best performance venues in the world, from large open air auditoria to pocket sized black box theatres from factories to gardens. 


Cast & Credits

On Stage: Rajeshwari Sachdev, Zila Khan, Denzil Smith, Danny Sura, Rajeev Siddhartha, Gillian Pinto & Parinaz Jal

Set & Light Designer: Salim Akhtar

Costume Designer:  Pia Benegal

Kathak: Uma Dogra

Playwright: Mahesh Dattani

Producer & Director: Lillette Dubey


Manohar Khushalani

Manohar Khushalani

Prof. Manohar Khushalani is a former Visiting Faculty at Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi. The courses he taught were: Animation & Graphics, Non-Linear Editing for Film and Radio and Theatre Appreciation.  He has won a total of nine Excellence in Teaching awards for all the courses he has taught at IIITD Earlier he retired from Government of India as Director Environment Management, Central Water Commission and held many senior positions in the Government Based on a Belief that Culture and Environment are the two keys to global sustainability , Manohar Khushalani has launched two portals: A Portal on Environment and Water called One Vorld at url: and two Ezines on Culture called Stage Buzz at url: He has taught extensively in varied subjects such as Dam Safety, Instrumentation, CAD, IT, Animation, Theatre, Newspaper Editing. He has conducted Courses on Environment Management, Water Shed Development, Team Building and Personality Development. He was an Expert Member of Prasar Bharti’s Committee for Grading & Short listing Films for Telecast on all channels of Doordarshan.  He is a Radio Anchor for All India Radio and has moderated several programs for the Rajdhani Channel He is a well-known Theatre Actor/Director and Critic, has been involved in theatre since 1977. He has worked as an actor in over 50 plays with almost every leading director/Actor in the Country including Badal Sircar, Feisal Alkazi, Amal Allana, M.K. Raina, Anuradha Kapoor, Maya Rao, Manohar Singh, Prasanna, Rati Bartholomew and Sushmita Mukherji. He has been active in the social sector as a street theatre activist. As a member of Workshop Theatre, Theatre Union and Prayog, Khushalani has participated in street plays taking up major social issues such as dowry, bride burning, Sati, banned medicinal drugs and communalism. Dario Fo’s Accidental Death of an Anarchist and Can’t Pay Won’t Pay, both directed by him, received rave notices from critics and audiences alike. Other plays directed by him include Badal Sircar’s, Sagina Mahato and Boris Vian’s Empire Builders for Ruchika Theatre Group. Khushalani has also acted in a few films such as Sudhir Mishra's Hazaron Khwaishen Aisi , Shoojit Sircar’s Madras Café and Pradeep Krishan's Annie Gives Those Ones. He is an Animator & Graphics Designer and has directed a number of documentaries. He also held a number of Honorary positions and was President of North India Films Association, He was the Chairman of  Jury for UGC CEC Educational Films Competition and has been on their Preview Committee since last many years. He was on the preview committee of Door Darshan Channel 3, was a visiting Professor at National School of Drama, New Delhi, and Film & Television Institute of India, Pune, AJKMCRR, Jamia Milia Islamia and Professor in Media at FICT, Delhi  He has judged a large number of Drama Competitions and conducted a number of Theatre / Management Games Workshops with Institutions such as AIIMS, NTPC, CWPRS, NWA, Karve Nari Prakshishan Sansthan, FICT, IIT, MAMC, Gargi College, KNC, Tagore International School and Vivekananda School. He is a Theatre Critic for IIC Diary, has also been a Columnist with Midday and Pioneer Daily and wrote Column's Called Culture Cocktail and Footlights Respectively. He was also the Guest Editor for an issue on Folk Theatre of ICCR Journal Horizons. He has written for Times of Indian, Hindustan Times, Blitz, Hard News, Hindu Business Line, Theatre India & Art Times. He has designed dams and hydraulic structures for the Government. He is a programmer and has developed Engineering design software in Fortran. He is a co-author of Irrigation Practice & Design (Vol 1 to5 - 1500 pages) published by Oxford & IBH and sponsored by National Book Trust. He has been a Director, Environment and Sociology, at the National Water Academy, Khadakwasla and Director, Environment Management Directorate, Central Water Commission and Member Secretary, National Environmental Monitoring Committee for River Valley Projects. He was also Director of Instrumentation Directorate in the Dam Safety Organisation. He was Chief General Manager and Head of Water Resources at Scott Wilson and is an accredited consultant with numerous other organizations He is a Delhi Public School, BITS Pilani, IIT Delhi and FTI Pune Alumini. He was also the President of BITS Pilani Alumni Association, Pune.

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