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by Editorial Desk March 1 2024, 12:00 am Estimated Reading Time: 9 mins, 51 secs

Meet the cast and the crew of the new play FARIDA, directed and written by Nadira Zaheer Babbar for Ekjute Theatre Group. It opens at Prithvi Theatre on 3rd March 2024. The timings: 5pm and 8pm.

Farida is a poignant story set in the heart of the Kashmir Valley, where love blossoms between Haider, a wounded soldier, and a spritely Farida, who’s abandoned by her husband and living in hope of him returning one day. Amid ever changing skies, colourful orchards and adversity, it is Gul Mohammad, Farida’s brother-in-law, also her friend and an artist, who’s empathetic towards her and wants to help her get a whole new life. But, there are hurdles to cross

Over to the stellar team behind this magnum opus on stage:


Over the years, Ekjute Theatre Group, established by Nadira Zaheer Babbar in 1981, has given Indian theatre sixty plays including Sandhya Chhaya, Look Back in Anger, Ballabhpur Ki RoopKatha, Baat Laat Ki Halaat, Shabash Anarkali, Begum Jaan, Dayashankar Ki Diary, Sakku Bai, Suman Aur Sana and Ji Jaisi Aapki Marzi. She’s a prolific lyricist and playwright as well.

Among the well-known actors, theatre personalities, writers who’ve worked with Nadira Zaheer Babbar are BM Vyas, Anup Soni, Juhi Babbar Soni (her daughter), Sumit Vyas, Kirron Kher, Sushmita Mukherjee, Raja Bundela, Richa Chadha, Satish Kaushik, and the list is endless.


Born in Dehradun Uttarakhand, Manav Pande was the first runners-up for Mr Uttarakhand in 2008 and a successful ramp model. He started working with Ekjute Theatre Group in 2009 and has been an actor in over 25 plays.

He has written and directed two plays, Khaas Mauqe Ke Liye, based on the story of eminent Urdu writer Raziya Sajjad Zaheer, and Locha Gotcha, a humorous play for children with an underlying message.

The films he’s acted in include Anand Gandhi’s Ship of Theseus, Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Raagdesh and Karma Strikes, and the web series, God’s Frequency.

Maanav is the creative head and director of Chamka Advertising Agency.


Her journey began in the field of Law. Graduating amid the challenges of the pandemic in 2020, she serendipitously found herself drawn into the spotlight. Aroosa Khan is a versatile talent in cinema, music, and now, the theatrical stage. Emerging on the entertainment scene with a notable debut in the movie "Bachchan Pandey," where she shared the screen with the charismatic Akshay Kumar, Aroosa swiftly captivated audiences with her performance. Not content with merely making a mark in cinema, she ventured to music as the main lead in the music video "Phone Mila ke" by Sony Music and Raftaar.

She embarks on a new artistic endeavour with the title role in the play Farida, written and directed by the esteemed Nadira Zaheer Babbar. Multi-talented and dedicated to the craft, she continues to carve her path as a rising star in the entertainment industry.


Yudhvir Dahiya is an actor and also dubs and directs international content in Indian languages. He has had over 20 years of theatre experience and is recognized as one of the most sought-after character actors, voice actors and dubbing artists. He speaks English, Hindi and Haryanvi.

He has acted in several Ads, and awaits the release of the upcoming feature film called WHAT A KISMAT, where he plays the main lead. Formerly, he looked after the 'Acting & Presentation' Department’ at the Asian Education Group (AAFT: Marwah Studios) at Film City NOIDA.


Aashay Mishra is an actor who has predominantly worked on stage, television shows, and short films. An artist with multiple capabilities, he has been on stage since childhood. He is a dancer, a trained singer and a multi-instrumentalist.

He played the role of Vaibhav Toshmiwal in popular television serial Shubh Laabh – Aapkey Ghar Mein, and Satvik Bhosle in Agnisakshi – Ek Samjhauta.

Mishra started his career in Ekjute Theatre Group under the training of Nadira Zaheer Babbar. He made his debut in television series Tenali Rama. His first lead role was of the character Omkar Gupta in Pyaar Ke Papad. He has given everlasting performances ever since in the serial Story 9 Months Ki and several others. 


As a B.Com LLB graduate from Bombay University, Hanif began his career with college plays and drama competitions. It was a life altering moment for him when he attended a Ekjute Theatre Group Drama workshop led by Nadira Zaheer Babbar. An actor from his heart, Hanif Patni is devoted to Ekjute Theatre Group and has worked with Baaji for over 30 years now. Audiences have loved and applauded his scintillating performances in plays staged over the years, many of which he has also directed.

We have also seen Hanif Patni in several TV serials, films and ad films. His expertise lies in production management and he has been an assistant director too. He continues to contribute to the field of theatre and art mostly through his alma mater and as a freelancer. He speaks Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Urdu and English.


Debasree graduated from the University of Calcutta in Drama and Music and has done Diploma courses from the National Institute of Film and Fine Arts, and the National School of Drama (NSD). She speaks Hindi as well as Bengali. She’s been working at the Ekjute Theatre Group for many years and is a professional actor and voice over artist.

She’s been noticed in the television serials Savdhan India and Crime Patrol, Short Films Kalbhairav and Ishq Subhan Allah, Web Series Deb D Season 2, Flesh, Criminal Justice Season 2, Human Season 1. Debasree is also a teacher of Speech and Drama at the Witty International School Mumbai.



She’s honest, dedicated, hardworking, caring and emotional – that’s how everyone who knows her describes her. Neha Shaikh has acted in ad films, plays, films, television serials and she has handled props and costumes for various plays. She’s also heads talent for some of the most popular reality shows on Indian Television.

When asked by the news-desk about her experience of working with Ekjute, she replied, “I feel the confidence and leadership skills, which I have come to me because of Baji (Nadira Zaheer Babbar). In theatre you are not just an actor, you do backstage, props, costumes, music, you also write, I think theatre teaches you everything. Theatre helps you become a better person.  It changes you in profound ways and helps you to reinvent at every step of the way. Ekjute has taught me to understand and express my feelings."



She’s an actor, lyricist, writer, storyteller and a music composer. She was noticed while playing superstar Salman Khan’s sister in the film Mujhse Shaadi Karogi, and in Zee TV’s serial Pancham. She’s worked in several ad films as well.

Komal Thakur has played important roles in the short films “Makkar” and “The Goodbye Silence”. She met Nadira Zaheer Babbar on the sets of one of the short films and has been working with her group after attending an actors’ workshop in 2022.

When the news-desk asked her about her experience with Baaji, she said, “The humility, politeness, grounding, it’s all there in her personality…a touch of concern is there. In the world today, everyone can succeed easily, but being at such her position, the Queen of Theatre, I call her "Queen of hearts”, she is down to earth and that's what makes her special. When Baaji asked if anyone would like write a song, or a poetic piece, for her new play FARIDA, I raised my hand. I could feel the character, her deep pain....I composed the music and wrote this Song "Ek Muddat Bheet Gayi". The song is close to my heart because it reflects the protagonist’s inner voice. Baaji loved the song when she heard me sing it. I felt blessed when she said, ‘Shabaash bete, bahut acche.’ I call her my guru”.



She speaks Hindi, English and Bundelkhandi. Neelam Pathak has done a diploma course in acting from the Kishore Namit Kapoor Acting Institute and worked at the Ambrosia Theatre Workshop. She’s been associated with Ekjute Theatre Group for over an year now.

“Working with Baaji, has been a powerful experience,” she tells us. She’s played primary characters in the plays Apsara and Bela, which opened at the Prithvi Theatre. She’s also acted in the short film Makkar. 


Amod Bhatt is known for Das Kapital Ghulamon Ki Rajdhani (2020), Mohalla Assi (2015), and Bestsellers: Ek Shaam Ki Mulakaat (1999). He is an experienced and trained Classical Indian Musician, also born in a family of musicians. Trained in traditional theatre music by B V Karanth, he has produced music for over 80 theatre productions. He has worked with Bharat Bhawan and National School of Drama too, teaching and composing music for theatre.

Amod Bhatt has received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award 2014 for Theatre Music and has composed and directed music for more than 100 plays in his career.


Hidayat Sami is a Mumbai based theatre professional who has been working as a director, actor and a lighting designer since 1991. He has trained with veteran theatre guru Pandit Satyadev Dubey, Naseeruddin Shah and Sunil Shanbag and has been a part of over a hundred and seventy-five theatre productions in English, Hindi and Marathi.

His work as an actor includes plays like Striptease, Snapshots From An Album, Irani Cafe, Mahatma Versus Gandhi, Timeboy, The Doll, The Boy Who Stopped Smiling, Cotton 56 Polyester.

Hidayat trained for lighting with theatre veteran Sunil Shanbag and has designed lights for productions like Hamlet, Sir Sir Sarla, Dear Liar, Vagina Monologues, Stories In A Song, Dreams Of Taleem among a host of others.
As a director, his works include All About Women, Umrao, Peter Pan, Classic Milds, Jaan E Jigar, Balle Balle and Medha And Zoombish.

Besides all this, he is also actively involved in conducting acting workshops. He helps regularly with the planning, programming and running of the Prithvi Theatre Festival in Mumbai.



Former Director Programming at Zee Network, she director of the documentary on feminism in India, #SHOUT (2023) and editor of The Daily Eye – an online media (

Vinta is a photographer and works on visual effects and motion graphics. She started her career with Nadira Zaheer Babbar in Titliyan, directed by her, as a production assistant, and subsequently joined the Ekjute Theatre Group. She’s returned to work with the Nadira ji after 34 years, for her latest play FARIDA. 

Vinta’s critically acclaimed film, White Noise (2005), starring Rahul Bose and Koel Purie, screened at several national and international film festivals. She has produced, directed and written the long running television series Tara, Raahein, Raahat, Aur Phir Ek Din, Sansaar and Miilee among others. Her Edutainment work includes the serials Sheila and Kasbah, films Anant, Aparajita, and the documentary film The Distant Thunder.

Written and directed by Nadira Zaheer Babbar, the new play FARIDA opens at Prithvi Theatre on 3rd March 2024. The show timings are 5pm and 8pm.

Tickets can be booked at Prithvi Theatre and

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The writers are solely responsible for any claims arising out of the contents of this article.

Cast Crew Play Farida Nadira Zaheer Babbar Ekjute Theatre Group Prithvi Theatre #Newsdesk Story Kashmir Valley Love Story Love Orchards Flowers Life Sandhya Chhaya Look Back in Anger Ballabhpur Ki RoopKatha Baat Laat Ki Halaat Shabash Anarkali Begum Jaan Dayashankar Ki Diary Sakku Bai Suman Aur Sana Ji Jaisi Aapki Marzi Actors Theatre Personality Writers Playwright BM Vyas Anup Soni Juhi Babbar Soni Sumit Vyas Kirron Kher Sushmita Mukherjee Raja Bundela Richa Chadha Satish Kaushik Manav Pande Dehradun Uttarakhand Mr Uttarakhand Ramp Model Khaas Mauqe Ke Liye Raziya Sajjad Zaheer Locha Gotcha Humour Comedy Anand Gandhi Ship of Theseus Tigmanshu Dhulia Raagdesh Karma Strikes Web Series God’s Frequency Chamka Advertising Aroosa Khan Spotlight Talent Cinema Music Stage Entertainment Debut Bachchan Pandey Akshay Kumar Sony Music Raftaar Title Role Yudhvir Dahiya Dubbing Artist Voice Artist Indian languages English Hindi Haryanvi Ads WHAT A KISMAT Film Aashay Mishra Short Films Singer Instrumentalist Shubh Laabh – Aapkey Ghar Mein Agnisakshi – Ek Samjhauta Tenali Rama Pyaar Ke Papad Story 9 Months Ki Hanif Patni Bombay University Drama Marathi Gujarati Urdu Debasree Ghosh University of Calcutta National Institute of Film and Fine Arts National School of Drama NSD Savdhan India Crime Patrol Kalbhairav Ishq Subhan Allah Deb D Season 2 Flesh Criminal Justice Season 2 Human Season 1 Witty International School Mumbai Neha Shaikh Costumes Props Indian Television Leadership Skills Komal Thakur Storyteller Music Composer Salman Khan Mujhse Shaadi Karogi Zee TV Pancham Makkar The Goodbye Silence Neelam Pathak Bundelkhandi Kishore Namit Kapoor Acting Institute Ambrosia Theatre Workshop Amod Bhatt Music Director Song Das Kapital Ghulamon Ki Rajdhani (2020) Mohalla Assi (2015) Bestsellers: Ek Shaam Ki Mulakaat (1999) Classical Indian Music B V Karanth Theatre Music Sahitya Academy Award Hidayat Sami Lighting Lighting Designer Pandit Satyadev Dubey Naseeruddin Shah Sunil Shanbag Striptease Snapshots From An Album Irani Cafe Mahatma Versus Gandhi Timeboy The Doll The Boy Who Stopped Smiling Cotton 56 Polyester Hamlet Sir Sir Sarla Dear Liar Vagina Monologues Stories In A Song Dreams Of Taleem All About Women Umrao Peter Pan Classic Milds Jaan E Jigar Balle Balle Medha And Zoombish Prithvi Theatre Festival Pravin Bansode Art Director Vinta Nanda Visual Effects Photography Graphics Art Digital Designer SHOUT The Film Documentary Film White Noise (2005) Titliyan Rahul Bose Koel Purie Tara Raahein Raahat Aur Phir Ek Din Sansaar Miilee Edutainment Sheila Kasbah Anant Aparajita The Distant Thunder