The Green Hope Falcon

Lights, Camera, Bollywood on Broadway: Esha Shakthy acts in remake of “Rangeela”

Esha+Shakthy%2C+member+of+Green+Hope+Theatre+and+lead+actress+in+%22Rangeela%3A+Revisited%22
Esha Shakthy, member of Green Hope Theatre and lead actress in

Esha Shakthy, member of Green Hope Theatre and lead actress in "Rangeela: Revisited"

Uma Bhat

Uma Bhat

Esha Shakthy, member of Green Hope Theatre and lead actress in "Rangeela: Revisited"

Uma Bhat, Staff Writer

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After moving from Georgia during Freshman year, Esha Shakthy, Class of 2021, would have found it easy to disseminate into a crowd labeled average. Instead, she’s become a centerpiece of the theater department, part of a group of students going to the Scottish Arts Fringe Festival — and now, an actor in a Broadway-style remake of Bollywood film “Rangeela”.

“I moved from GA to NC in 2017 as a Freshman, and Beginning Theatre was one of the classes I took my first year at Green Hope.” Esha stated. “Mr. Gorski’s [theatre teacher] passion towards theatre made that class the best class I have ever taken. I not only cherish the valuable lessons I learned in acting but also the great friends I made there. It has been a privilege to be in our schools’ productions of The Last Five Years and Sideshow.”

Shakethy, a passionate member of the burgeoning Green Hope Theater department, is slowly becoming somewhat of a rising star. Over the span of five years, she’s gone from an amateur dilettante to a talented actress, making her presence known through the medium she loves. Not only has she participated in numerous school productions, but also in more prestigious acting related programs.

“One of the best acting experiences I have had was at the iTheatrics’ summer workshop in New York City in 2017,” Shakthy said. “I was selected to attend the iTheatrics production because I was one of the All-Stars at the Junior Theater Festival (JTF) in 2016 for playing the role of Lefou in the Beauty and the Beast during the JTF competition. The iTheatrics production of Cinderella gave me an opportunity to learn acting nuances to a greater depth from NYU and Broadway experts.”

Shakthy usually strives “to seek opportunities to act in community theater” in order to make friends out of school; this is why she joined the community production of “Rangeela Revisited”, a Broadway production with an Indian-style Bollywood twist.

“I chose to do the Bollywood Broadway-style show ‘Rangeela [Revisited]’ because its script is very original and authentic. The show is a high school romantic comedy and handles the complexity of relationships in a very unique manner. As Broadway is the gold standard for theatre, most plays and musicals we do at our level are inspired by works that have been performed at Broadway.” She said.

However, Esha also added that acting in “Rangeela: Revisited” gave her the unique opportunity to act through the lens of her heritage. Not many productions have predominantly Asian-American casts, much less Asian-American stories. Among the shows and movies rising up to allow Asian American presence in entertainment, such as To All The Boys I’ve Ever Loved Before and Crazy Rich Asians, Rangeela, a play taking place in an American high school but involving Bollywood-style elements such as Indian music and dance, is an authentic story that truly allows the cast — and audience, at some degree — to embrace their upbringing.

The play is unique in the same way that being American Indian is unique … you will not yet see many, or any, theatrical productions give a voice and platform to American Indian identity as Rangeela Revisited does. ”

The Co-Director (Alekh Jha) of Oorja Productions, the association that produced the play, elaborates “Coming from two disparate cultures – American Indian, Asian American, or whatever it may be – is at the same time both those cultures and yet neither. It draws upon aspects of both cultures but combines, over time, to form something unique in itself. This uniqueness of the experience of being American Indian will hopefully be captured in the characters that are portrayed in Rangeela Revisited.”

According to the production directors, “Rangeela: Revisited” will help to encapsulate the teenage South-Asian-American experience through various dichotomies. For example, the play contains a mixture of American and Indian Music. Some featured soundtracks include I Do by Cardi B., Feel it Still by Portugal, and other original soundtracks from the original 90’s melodrama.

Esha Shakthy
“Rangeela: Revisited” will be performed at Cary Arts Center on November 13th at 7pm.

“And in that it is an identity that has emerged into its own relatively recently, you will not yet see many, or any, theatrical productions give a voice and platform to the American Indian identity as Rangeela Revisited does […]  the heart of the story, however, is universal in nature. The show will appeal to audiences of all backgrounds and ages. The experience of first love, the awkwardness, the nervousness, the miscommunications, the confusion, the exhilaration, the sadness, are as universal as the human experience itself!” The group concluded.

In addition to being a play with a uniquely Indian-American perspective, the play’s sales will also benefit Kiran, a non-profit organization that empowers Americans of South-Asian ancestry who have suffered domestic violence.

“It is so rare to get an opportunity to perform an original script that you can relate to, so I could not pass up this opportunity. Also, while the musical has an American high school setting, the music and dances help me showcase my love for Bollywood and my rich Indian heritage.” Esha said. “I cannot thank the playwright and the directors enough for such a great opportunity.”

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Rangeela will be open for audiences to see on November 16th, 2018, at Cary Arts Center at 7 p.m. All Green Hope students are welcome to attend! For entry passes, text Kriti, the Director, at 919-656-5410 or use this link: https://raleigh.carpe-diem.events/calendar/8203238-rangeela-revisited-bollywood-broadway-show-at-cary-arts-center/.  Make sure to also attend Green Hope Theatre productions as well and support the Fine Arts Department!  

 

About the Contributor
Uma Bhat, Staff Writer

A passionate journalist, Uma Bhat, Class of 2021, feels right at home at The GH Falcon. She plans on using her experience from writing for a magazine, as well as her many connections throughout Green Hope, to report on local news, school news, and write editorials. Uma is involved at school as the Director of Simulations in Green Hope’s Model UN, and has leadership positions in clubs such as Badminton and Creative Writing. In her freetime she enjoys reading and listening to bands such as Panic! At The Disco – whom she saw live this past summer. After graduating high school she seeks to pursue a career in Journalism and Social Justice

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Lights, Camera, Bollywood on Broadway: Esha Shakthy acts in remake of “Rangeela”