My ignorance was given a kick in its butt when my friend told me that she is a veteran Marathi theater actress. He dragged me to watch her play, White Lily N Knight Rider. I was amazed at the transformation.
In this play, she plays a 36 year old woman looking for love. It's a bold role with the character wanting to explore "sexual compatibility" before confirming any alliance with her 39 year old "date". The plot has a contemporary feel as the two protagonists meet online. In fact, White Lily and Knight Rider are their chat IDs.
This was the first time I saw a professional Marathi play and I loved the experience. I especially enjoyed the sets, music and most importantly the acting. I was pleasantly surprised to see Rasika Joshi portray a role which I could relate to so easily. For a moment I wondered, why doesn't Bollywood ever give her a chance to strut her stuff? And then I found out it was too late.
I feel truly blessed that I got to see her perform live before she passed away. She was battling cancer since the last few months and I saw the play just a few weeks ago. Looking at her, nobody would've guessed what she was going through. According to media reports, she continued shooting despite her illness, and showed a remarkable degree of professionalism. I laugh now as I remember how she momentarily dropped her character, walked to the front of the stage and chastised a man for speaking on the phone during her performance.
On a Marathi chat show, she said that she'd put her play on hold for ten minutes when a dignitary sitting in the front row refused to hang up his cell phone. That was the attention she commanded. And why shouldn't she? When she can stand there despite being so close to death and give her 100% I think the least she would expect is undivided attention.
Even if I'm suffering from a mild case of stomach upset, I hang up my boots and take an off. Here is a lady who never said no, despite suffering from an illness that kills your spirit first, and then your body. White Lily is an inspiration, a lesson in perseverance and dedication to your work.