Twice the intrigue

In the year 2007, playwright and director Mahesh Dattani helmed Double Deal: How Far Would You Go that featured Mahesh Manjrekar and Sandhya Mridul. Now, a decade later, he has revisited the same production and presented it in a new avatar as Double Deal Reloaded. The play, which now features Bharat Dabholkar and marks the stage debut of Bollywood actress Manjari Fadnnis, premieres this weekend as part of the Spotlight Festival. The story revolves around two strangers Jeet (Bharat) and Rhea (Manjari) and how their encounter soon turns into a web of deceit and betrayal. Mahesh reveals what prompted him to revisit the English play.

How is Double Deal Reloaded different from its previous avatar?
I have edited the script and now, it is a taut thriller. I felt the play works better when it is tighter. Also, today people have a short attention span. So while earlier the play was 105 minutes long, now it is 75 minutes.

What prompted you to cast Manjari and Bharat?
I was impressed by how Manjari instinctively picked up the stage grammar. She is a keen learner. Bharat is known as a theatre director but I have always felt that he is a good actor. He is usually seen in cameos in his own productions and has shied away from playing the lead role. So, this is a first for him.

How do the dynamics change when you work with a new cast?
They bring in a certain novelty and energy. They have a willingness to learn that works well for the production. In this case, Manjari and Bharat have approached their characters in a fresh and unique way.

Double Deal Reloaded premieres today at 8 pm at The Royal Opera House.

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