Deepa Gahlot

Written and Directed : Trishla Patel
Cast : Jayaa Virlley, Fatima Arrif, Aanchal Poddaar, Sohini Niyogi, Sanjina Gadhvi and Anant Ankur


The Whatsapp generation would think what's the big deal, we keep in touch with school/college pals. But how often do they meet? Just for a coffee or meal? Or a holiday together? Life gets in the way" work, partners, kids. Everybody wishes they had a cool 'gang' that would always have their backs. Which is why Trishla Patel's new play RAAT KI RANIYAAN is like a warm hug that evokes memories of youth and the days that just flew past.

It starts from 1993, when five girls (Jayaa Virlley, Fatima Arrif, Aanchal Poddaar, Sohini Niyogi, Sanjina Gadhvi) meet in a college classroom on a day when rains have cancelled class for the day. Jasmine, dressed in a salwar-kameez (used to be called the behenji look back in the day, now it's ethnic!) She has escaped a bunch of boys ragging her, that includes the brother of one of them "the only male who makes a brief appearance in a play about women and the girls stand up to the bullies. Jasmine is the odd one out among the trendy young women, but is welcomed to the fold.

That day forms a friendship that lasts for years "though the experimenting with smokes and booze, boys and sex "gives way to secrets, guilt, relationship issues. The friends dance, party, do the 'Goa' thing, discover each other's secrets and grow up together. There are frequent tests of loyalty and the gang that called itself Raat Ki Raniyaan always aces it. They do not judge, condemn or criticize, just support.

The passage of time is depicted with the use of Amul ads and music. There are the inevitable gaps in their meetings as all of them get busy with their lives and careers, but when one of them needs help, there is a friend who will put everything on hold and be there.

The idea is not novel, there have been dozens of films and some plays on college friendships, but the five actresses are able to convey the genuine affection between friends that comes from shared experiences, acceptance of each other's flaws and a total lack of envy. Trishla Patel may have picked problems for her characters that seem to come from a checklist of woke-ness, and their careers all impossibly trendy (singer, actress, wildlife photographer!), but what matters is that the play is enjoyable, and relatable in large parts, since everyone would recognize one or more moments as something that happened to them too, or one of the women as someone they recognize from their past.

The performers grow from teenagers to mature women, but their high spirits and camaraderie remain intact, and they bring the play alive "it would be tough to pick just one, since all five just throw their hearts into the production, into which they have added their own memories and observations. This feel of happy collaboration gives RAAT KI RANIYAAN its essence.

(Deepa Gahlot is a journalist, columnist, author and curator. Some of her writings are on

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