Mucho Pyaar :o) x

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Miss Meena and the Masala Queens: Cast Catch Up.

Taking their inspirations from the British Asian Drag Queen Community, Pravesh Kumar brings to the stage of story of Miss Meena and the Masala Queens.

Miss Meena, portrayed by Raj Ghatak, lives in the distant memories of her day of sensational sarees, beautiful Bollywood numbers and adoring audience. The nightclub too has lost it's glitz, glam and glory, much like it's once quintessential Queen!
With Miss Meena desperately holding onto her haven, her long-standing companion, Munni, portrayed by Jamie Zubairi, is pushing for a modernised updated and with property developers waiting like vultures, a new ray of hope arrives in the form of Shaan, portrayed by Nicholas Prasad, the younger shadow of Miss Meena, wanting to enter the Asian Drag Queen Community. Miss Meena finds some more solace and support, in the comedy duo of Preetho and Pinky, portrayed by Harvey Dhadda and Vedi Roy, two undercover wanna-be artists, in the form of construction workers. Just as a hummer of hope can be seen, Miss Meena's past brings her ghosts of yesteryear, putting everything into a question mark.

I was fortunate enough to catch up with the cast of Miss Meena and the Masala Queens and get their personal insight, thoughts and opinions of the production, and this is what they had to say.

What attracted you to this production and role?
Raj Ghatak - Miss Meena
 "I was attracted to the production as it's a story that hasn't been told before. As an actor, you are privileged to get to tell stories, and Miss Meena's story is an untold one. So as an acting challenge, it's huge as there's so much to get right and make believable. In order to do a good job, and make Miss Meena 'real' a lot of work went into posture, walk, voice and accent; and that's before learning at the script! I think it's important to keep pushing boundaries and expanding perspective, and I hope this show is doing that with the audience. The audience reaction is supportive which has been lovely to receive. For me this was a no brainer. I was offered the role, and accepted."

What was the biggest challenge you faced bringing this role to life?
Nicholas Prasad - Shaan
"It was being as completely convincing and authentic as possible so that audience members could buy into the transformation of Shaan. Undoing 28 years of being aheterosexual male and transforming briefly into a woman, finding the feminisation, selling it and convincing the audience  - that was by far the biggest challenge."

What is your favourite line/dialogue in the play?
Jamie Zubairi - Munni
"Section of dialogue would have to be opening section with Meena. It has the first proper laugh of the play from "The Sherlock Homos" to "Still am, darling". My favourite line would have to be "Think about those fringe benefits, Mr Councillor... So, are you in or out?" it's Munni at her most manipulative."
What has the reaction been to the show from the audience, community and your friends and family? Vedi Roy - Pinky
"The reaction has been surprisingly good! In rehearsals, we thought that there might be a lot of walk outs because of the subject matter, but everyone seems to love it. We get hounded at the end of every show from screaming fans, it's a beautiful reaction from the audience and the community. My friends and family couldn't have been more supportive. I have personally been through a lot of the themes that the play discusses, so I was nervous about my family's reaction to the show, but in a way, having this platform made discussions about homosexuality a lot more free, open and amiable. This show, I'm sure, is helping to break boundaries."
To learn more about the production, please visit:

Mucho Pyaar :o)

I would like to thank the production and cast for giving me the opportunity to interview them and wish them all the best for the rest of the tour.


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