Mera Woh Matlab Nahi Tha: The Play Everyone’s Talking About

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Rajender Singh (sitting) with Anupam Kher, Neena Gupta, and Rakesh Bedi.

By Preanka Desai

Article contribution: Vanshika Vipin

HOUSTON: Almost nine years ago Rakesh Bedi wrote a love story like no other – Mera Woh Matlab Nahi Tha (meaning “That’s Not What I Meant”).  Preetam Kumar Chopra (Anupam Kher) and Hema Roy (Neena Gupta), deeply in love, had planned to marry, but fate and family had other plans.  Their love story would take a heart-wrenching turn with Hema getting stood up at the altar by Preetam.  As luck would have it, Preetam and Hema meet again almost 35 years later.  Hema is set to leave India to be with her daughter, but is looking for closure.  Both Preetam and Hema have questions that have remained unanswered all this time… Why did Preetam leave Hema waiting at the altar?  What transpired in these 35 years?  Why didn’t Hema try to pursue Preetam and find out why he didn’t show up?

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Set in Delhi’s beautiful Lodhi Gardens, the play explores the lives of Preetam and Hema, and what the future holds for them.  The play is crisp, fast-paced and with not a single dull moment in the almost two-hour production.  A new concept is employed in the production of this play – the use of multimedia.  A large video screen depicts flashbacks and there are even interactive dialogs between the actors on stage and those on the screen.

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Neena Gupta, making what some refer to as a comeback to the stage and theater, as Hema Roy – Preetam’s lover, and as Nigaar – Preetam’s wife, is absolutely flawless.  Switching from one role and accent, depicting two very different roles with a corresponding array of emotions in both roles, showcases Gupta’s versatile talent.  Anupam Kher is his usual fascinating self, evoking sentiments ranging from tears to laughter.  Not only writing and directing this play, Rakesh Bedi also cast himself portraying the inquisitive, neighbor and friend, Raj Kapoor.  He added some hilarious moments throughout the play.

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Rajender Singh of Star Promotion, Inc., so impressed with Mera Woh Matlab Nahi Tha when he saw it in India, almost immediately decided to share his experience by becoming the national promoter so he could bring it to North America.  Since his home is Houston, having the inaugural show here was a no-brainer.  The show sold out almost a week in advance as is the trend for this play with no previous showing ever having “current booking” – an assertion Anupam Kher had made in interviews earlier at a specially organized press conference in Houston.  So well received was Mera Woh Matlab Nahi Tha that by public demand, Star Promotion has added an extra show in Houston to the already hectic schedule of more than 20 cities.

Rave reviews from major media outlets and A-list Bollywood celebrities such as Anil Kapoor and Salman Khan, just to name a few, helped pique the interest and hype the play to international audiences.  The night before the inaugural show, Bedi expressed some trepidation whether the North American audience would be just as impressed as the Indian audiences were.  Of course, his trepidation was unfounded when the fruits of Bedi’s labor of love were abundantly apparent when the audience rewarded him, Kher and Gupta with a standing ovation.  At the end all three artists and Rajender were presented with certificates of recognition, for their hard work. Emceed by Meena Dutt, the hostess of Music of India and Ghungroo Radio, invited all the sponsors of the show on stage.

Rajender thanked everyone, especially the sponsors, media, and everyone who came out to see the show and supported it.

If you haven’t seen Mera Woh Matlab Nahi Tha, plan to catch the second Houston show on September 4, at the Stafford Civic Center.

For tickets and the complete tour schedule, visit or call Rajender Singh at 281-222-4500.