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It is as if someone pushed a button and actor Dolly Ahluwalia swings into action. "Satyanash ho gaya!" she says in a Punjabi twang that comes naturally to her. The recipient of her exclamation is Swaroopa Ghosh, a theatre actor best known for playing "pishi" in Vicky Donor. "Chup ho ja, Simran," she says, sternly.
In a quaint house in Gurgaon, both actors have got together to rehearse for Jug Jug Jiyo, a play written and directed by Smita Bharti of the Sakshi Foundation, which will be staged in Delhi next month. "It is a dark comedy about two childhood friends — Simran and Samyukta — and their struggles. It graphs the events of one night, as their story unfolds," says Bharti. Ghosh, being the first choice to play Samyukta, suggested Ahluwalia for the role of Simran. "I am returning to theatre with this play after eight years, and I'm nervous. The story touched my heart, and I had to be a part of it," says Ahluwalia.
While Ahluwalia is based in Chandigarh, Ghosh lives by herself in Delhi. Although their personal relationship dates back to the late '80s, this is the first time they are coming together for a play. "I met Dolly for the first time while I was giving an interview for the NSD repertory. She prepared me for it, and I will never forget how she looked out for me," says Ghosh.
It was in 1989 when the duo worked together for the first time, in a short film by actor-director MK Raina. "We both went our separate ways after that, and came back for Vicky Donor after a gap of 10 years," says Ghosh. Ahluwalia recently completed costume designing for Midnight's Children and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, and is also featuring in Ayan Mukherji's film Yeh Jawaani Hai Dewaani. Ghosh, on the other hand, is working in Shoojit Sircar's Madras Cafe, while teaching theatre at The British School in Delhi.