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May 21, 1999
More Bollywood Actresses To Follow Pooja, Jaya
A Staff Writer in Hoboken, New Jersey
When Pooja Bhatt toured several American cities with her drama troupe a few months, she found a warm reception. Director Ramesh Talwar scored a bigger hit when he persuaded Jaya Bachchan to play the title role in Maa Retire Hoti Hai which had a standing room only performances in more than a dozen American cities through May.
Now many older Bollywood actresses are ready to take the plunge and test the waters for their theatrical debut. According to Rahul Dholakia, one of the sponsors for Maa Retire Hoti Haiin New Jersey (along with businessman H R Shah), actresses such as Dimple Kapadia have shown interest in coming to North America to appear in stage plays.
"For the younger actors and actresses, there are those live, musical shows," Dholakia says. "But senior artists have now something to suit their talents and seniority, thanks to the wonderful success Pooja and Jaya have had in recent months."
The success of the two plays also proved that there was a big audience for the Hindi language plays, Dholakia and Shah feel.
"It was a given thing till recently that only the Gujrarati plays, that too comedies, would attract big audiences in many cities," Shah says. "But Jaya Bachchan and director Talwar have shown that a well-written and well-acted Hindi language play could be a big hit, too."
Dholakia says that in New Jersey the higher tickets -- $ 50 and above -- sold first for Maa Retire Hoti Hai.
Maa Retire Hoti Haiwas staged in some of the best auditoriums in Florida, New York and California.
"The temptation to stage it in a school auditorium in order to save the money would have been there for many people," Dholakia continues.
"But this play was so special that every sponsor and organizer decided to go for the best houses, which meant that we were cutting our profits," he explains. "But we felt it was wroth taking the risk. And we were proved right."
"Does it not show that there is an audience out there that is hungry for mature kind of entertainment?" he asks.
Often the audiences are left hungering for good shows because promoters are afraid to take risks, Dholakia says. "But when you have a good show and organize it well in the best auditoriums possible, people will back you up."
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