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Lillete Dubey's new play pays tribute to Devika Rani, the ‘first lady of Indian cinema’

Ira Dubey will play the legendary actress and former manager of Bombay Talkies.

Sonal Pandya

Lillete Dubey’s newest endeavour focuses the spotlight on Devika Rani, the first lady of Indian cinema. Dubey’s daughter Ira plays trailblazing actress and producer in the title role.

Joining Ira will be the ensemble cast of Joy Sengupta as Himanshu Rai, Rishi Khurana, Nandita Dubey, Aakanksha Kadre, Pranav Sachdev, and Kashyap Shangari. Devika Rani has been written by Kishwar Desai and directed by Lillete. She has previously directed plays like Dance Like a Man, Salaam Noni Appa, Gauhar and Kanyadaan.

Devika Rani will detail the fantastic life of the star, a grand-niece of Rabindranath Tagore, who completed her schooling in England. The independent young woman was drawn to acting as she attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) as a scholarship student and met Himanshu Rai, her future husband and collaborator, in London.

The play follows her travails, abroad and in India, as she rose to become a silver screen star.

In a statement, Lillete said, “Devika Rani is an inspiration to all of us, men and women. She thought ahead of her time and stood her ground in a society that stepped on women’s ambitions. To be able to pay a small tribute to her courage through this play is an honour and a pleasure for me. Showhouse has always encouraged good stories and this is proof of it.”

Organized by Showhouse, the play is scheduled to be performed in Pune, Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi, Gurugram and Bangalore, while the dates for Hyderabad, Lucknow, Chandigarh and Baroda are expected to be announced soon.

“Lillete Dubey’s vision as a director stems from her innate knowledge of content and acting. She understands the industry and we are happy to catalyse her imagination to create a story as powerful and stimulating as Devika Rani. We are very happy, that in our 10th year of ‘India’s largest theatre tour’ we are presenting the legendary Devika Rani on stage,” Omer Haidar, the managing director of Showhouse added.

Devika Rani will premiere on 31 August in Pune and tickets will be available on BookMyShow.