The Bride: Lakshmi Bharadwaj on playing Vidula
In Girish Karnad’s Wedding Album, I play Vidula Nadkarni, the vivacious and somewhat scatterbrained youngest daughter of a middle class Saraswat Brahmin family from Dharwad. At the beginning of the play, Vidula’s marriage is being fixed with Ashwin, who lives in the US. They have never met but have tried to get to know each other over Skype and phone calls. Ashwin is coming to India soon. They will meet briefly and then, if they like each other, they will be married, while Ashwin is still in India.
Vidula Nadkarni’s character is central to the play and easy to identify with because she is so human. She could be any girl - 20 something and about to get married. She is friendly and absent-minded, a doting daughter and the apple of the eye of the Nadkarnis. The dynamic that Vidula shares with her parents and siblings is very similar to my own, which is why I identify with her so much. In fact, being of “marriageable age” myself, I relate to the anxieties that Vidula faces in the Wedding Album.
All the characters in Wedding Album are multidimensional and complex. Vidula is no exception. She is not just a face. She has her secrets, she has her insecurities. She defines herself on her own terms. She can be exasperating one moment, and dissolve in a fit of giggles, the next. She is a girl who is trying to be modern in an evolving world. Her background is conventional, but she is trying to move past that and see things differently.
When I wrote her character sketch and thought in depth about Vidula, I could see how vulnerable and authentic she was. In watching her story unfold, you are sure to laugh at her silly jokes and sympathize with her predicaments. The truth, and the beauty of Vidula’s life lies in those moments.
– Lakshmi Bharadwaj