Lillete Dubey
Lillete Dubey at the premiere of The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel in 2015
Born
Lillete Keswani[1]

(1953-09-07) 7 September 1953 (age 68)[2]
OccupationActress, director
Spouse(s)
Ravi Dubey
(m. 1978; died 2015)
ChildrenNeha Dubey
Ira Dubey
RelativesLushin Dubey (sister)

Lillete Dubey (born 7 September 1953) is an Indian actress and theatre director. She has worked in Indian and international theatre, television and films in Hindi and English languages. Dubey began her career with Barry John in Delhi and was the founding member of his group - Theatre Action Group (TAG) in 1973. In 1991 she set up her own theatre company - The Primetime Theatre Company.[3][4][5]

Ms. Dubey is best known for her acclaimed performances in films like Zubeida, Monsoon Wedding (Winner Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival), Baghban, Kal Ho Na Ho, My Brother Nikhil, Delhi in a Day, Bow Barracks Forever (Best Actress Filma Madrid International Film Festival), 3 Days to Go (Best Actress Simon Sabela Awards, KZN South Africa), The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (BAFTA- Best Ensemble Cast) and The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and Sonata.[6][7]

In theatre, she is known for her work like, '30 Days in September', 'Adhe Adhure' (Best Actress Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards), 'August - Osage County', Dance Like a Man,[8][9] 'Where did I Leave my Purdah', and 'Salaam Noni Appa' amongst others.

Early life

Ms Dubey was born in Pune to Sindhi Hindu parents.[10] Her father, Gobind Keswani, was an engineer with the Indian Railways, and her mother, Lila Keswani, was a Gynaecologist from Lady Harding who later worked with the Indian Army.[1][2][11] After Ms Dubey's birth the family moved to Bikaner and later to Lucknow where she studied at Loretto Convent  and then went to Rustom Boarding school in Pune. After Rustoms, she came to Delhi and studied at Carmel Convent.[1][2] When she was in Class IX, the family moved back to Pune and she joined St. Mary's (Pune), where she first started acting. Her earliest role was that of Cecily in The Importance of Being Earnest. As she was good at academics, her parents were keen on her pursuing Science, however, Ms Dubey wanted to study Arts. After a great deal of persuasion she was allowed to study English literature at Lady Shri Ram College (LSR). It was during this period that she met her husband Ravi Dubey who was doing his M.A in Economics from the Delhi School of Economics. She completed her M.A in English from LSR and her second master's degree in mass communications from IIMC. She married Ravi Dubey on 12 September 1978.[12][13]

Personal life & Family

Lillete's husband Ravi Dubey was the youngest-ever General Manager of the Taj Mansingh hotel and rose to be the Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications at the Tata Group before he quit in 2004. He died of pancreatic cancer in 2015.[14]

The couple have two daughters, Neha and Ira, both of whom have played a variety of small and supporting roles in theatre, film and television. Additionally, Neha is a psychotherapist with an independent practice in Mumbai.

Lillete is the eldest of three siblings. She has a sister, Lushin, (named after Ilyushin, a Russian aircraft), and a brother, Patanjali, named in honour of the ancient rishi who compiled the Yoga Sutras. He is the founder of the Lemon Tree hotel group.[2] Lushin is the wife of Pradeep Dubey, a noted academic.[citation needed]

Career

Films

Ms Dubey's entry into films was quite by chance when her husband was posted to Mumbai in 1995, and she has often called herself an 'accidental film actress’. She debuted with the film Love You Hamesha starring Akshay Khanna and Sonali Bendre in 1999. The movie was directed by Kailash Surendranath. After that, she played a supporting character in Bawandar, directed by Jag Mundhra and starring Nandita Das, in 2000. It was based on the story of a rape victim, Bhanwari Devi, from Rajasthan.[15] Her career breakthrough was in 2001 when she essayed the role of Aunty Rose in Shyam Benegal's classic Zubeida and won many hearts and next as Shabana, the mother of the female protagonist Sakeena (played by Amisha Patel) in the movie Gadar: Ek Prem Katha. Her second hit, Monsoon Wedding, came out later in the same year and became yet another milestone in her film career.[16] Divya Unny from Open (Indian magazine) said,

"She acted in her first film Zubeidaa (2001) at the age of 47 which would have been considered a late start for an actor. Even as an independent actor, Dubey created a niche. She has defied expectations many times on screen. She was the only actress her age who could carry off smoking a cigarette in a shiny blouse and petticoat, with rollers in her hair, in Monsoon Wedding (2001)."[17]

The following year, in 2002, she again portrayed the role of one of the lead characters’ mother in the movie Om Jai Jagadish, directed by Anupam Kher. Her on-screen daughter was Urmila Matondkar. Another of her memorable roles was that of ‘Shanti Patel’, the wife of Paresh Rawal in Baghban (2003).[18]

The role that gained a lot of attention was that of Jaswinder "Jazz" Kapoor in Kal Ho Naa Ho, in 2003. She played Jazz, an older female character that is fierce, unapologetic, and in touch with her sexuality.[19] In 2004 she played the role of Preity Zinta's reel mother in the movie Lakshya. The film was directed by Farhan Akhtar and starred Hrithik Roshan as the male lead. In the same year, she also worked in Anjan Dutt's Bow Barracks Forever, a film that revolved around the troubles faced by the Anglo-Indian people to keep up their lifestyle, in the post-independence era and which won her the Best Actress award at the Madrid International Film Festival.[16]

Lillete worked on a long short film  ‘Seasons Greetings’ with Celina Jaitley.[20] Her short film works include Sonata & Purana Pyaar.[21] Her other work includes Qubool hai 2 at Zee5 premium where she plays Nilofer, alongside Karan Singh Grover and Surbhi Jyoti.[22][23]

Theatre

Dubey has been acting for over 40 years, and  has played the lead in over 60 productions ranging from Shakespeare, Greek Tragedy, Brecht, Musical Comedies, Farce, Contemporary Drama, Absurd Theatre, to Contemporary Drama, including Ibsen, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, Pinter, Dario Fo, Edward Albee, and Indian playwrights like Vijay Tendulkar, Partap Sharma, Mahesh Dattani, Girish Karnad, Mahesh Elkunchwar.[24][25] Ms. Dubey is also a founder member of the prestigious Delhi based Theatre Action Group.[26]

In 1991, Ms. Dubey co-founded The Primetime Theatre Co., with the intention of promoting original Indian writing, and has directed 33 productions for the company so far.[27]

The Prime Time Theatre Company's productions, directed by Ms Dubey, have traveled widely across India and abroad, with shows at the Bloomsbury Theatre in London, at the Tribecca in New York, at the Portland International Performance Festival in the U.S, as well as in Chicago, San Francisco, Houston, Dallas, Washington DC, Stamford, Raleigh (North Carolina), Los Angeles, Boston and New York in the U.S.[28]

One of Ms. Dubey's most notable productions - Dance Like a Man[29] by Mahesh Dattani,  is the longest running Indian play in English, having completed over 650 shows across the world, including a two-week off-Broadway run.[30]

Year Name of Play Role
1991 Blithe Spirit Lead actor, Directed and Produced [31] by Lillete Dubey and Sita Raina
1991 Romantic Comedy Lead actor, Directed and Produced by Lillete Dubey and Sita Raina
1992 Prisoner of Malabar Hill Lead Actor, Produced by Lillete Dubey and Sita Raina
1992 On The Razzle Lead actor, Directed and Produced by Lillete Dubey and Sita Raina
1993 All About Eve Lead Actor, Directed and Produced by Lillete Dubey and Sita Raina[32]
1993 Don't Drink The Water Lead Actor, Directed and Produced by Lillete Dubey and Sita Raina[33]
1993 Plaza Suite Lead Actor, Directed and Produced by Lillete Dubey and Sita Raina
1994 Lost in Yonkers Directed and Produced by Lillete Dubey and Sita Raina
1994 Me and My Girl Lead Actor, Directed and Produced by Lillete Dubey and Sita Raina
1994 Post Mortem Directed and Produced by Lillete Dubey and Sita Raina
1995 Dance Like a Man Lead Actor, Director and Producer [34]
1996 Autobiography Lead Actor and Director  [35]
1998 Jaya The Victory (an operatic montage of the Mahabharata) Director [36] and Producer
1998 On a Muggy Night in Mumbai Lead Actor, Director and Producer [37]
2000 Siren City Lead Actor, Director and Producer [38]
2000 Breathe in Breathe out Lead Actor, Director and Producer [39]
2000 Zen Katha Director and Producer [40]
2001 30 Days in September Lead Actor, Director and Producer [41]
2003 Womanly voices Director[42]
2005 Sammy Director[43] and Producer
2007 Kanyadaan Lead Actor, Director and Producer [44]
2008 Wedding Album Director and Producer [45]
2009 Brief Candle Director and Producer [31]
2010 Love on The Brink Director and Producer [46]
2011 Adhe Adhure Lead Actor, Director and Producer [47]
2011 August - Osage County Lead Actor and Director[48]
2012 Where did I leave my Purdah Lead Actor and Director[49]
2013 9 Parts of Desire Director and Producer [50]
2014 Boiled Beans on Toast Director and Producer[51]
2015 Gauhar Director and Producer [52]
2016 The Dancing Donkey Director and Producer[53]
2017 Salaam Noni Appa Lead Actor, Director and Producer [54]
2019 Devika Rani Director and Producer [55]

Filmography

Key
Films that have not yet been released Denotes films that have not yet been released

Films

Year Title Role Notes
1999 Love You Hamesha Feature film[56]
2000 Bawandar (English: Sandstorm) Anita Feature film[57]
2001 Zubeidaa Rose Davenport Feature film[58]
2001 Gadar: Ek Prem Katha Shabana Feature film[59]
2001 Monsoon Wedding Pimmi Verma Feature film[60]
2002 Om Jai Jagadish Neetu's mom Feature film[61]
2003 Pinjar Tara- Puro's mother Feature film[62]
2003 Johnny Johnny's step mom Telugu Feature film[63]
2003 Chalte Chalte Anna Mausi (Priya's aunt) Feature film[64]
2003 Baghban Shanti Patel Feature film[65]
2003 Kal Ho Naa Ho Jaswinder "Jazz" Kapoor Feature film[66]
2004 Lakshya Mrs. Dutta, Romila's mother Feature film[67]
2004 Vanity Fair Ms. Green credited as Lillette Dubey[68]/ Feature film
2004 Morning Raga Mrs. Kapoor Feature film[69]
2004 Sau Jhooth Ek Sach Moushami Pradhan Feature film[70]
2004 Bow Barracks Forever Emily Lobo Feature film[71]
2005 My Brother…Nikhil Anita Rosario Kapoor Feature film[72]
2005 Main Aisa Hi Hoon Ritu Feature film[73]
2005 Dosti: Friends Forever Kiran Thapar Feature film[74]
2006 Fanaa Helen (Zooni's Instructor) Feature film[75]
2006 Corporate Devyani Bakshi Feature film[76]
2006 Aap Ki Khatir Betty A. Khanna Feature film[77]
2007 My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves Bharucha (Movie Director) Feature film[78]
2007 Har Pal Gallery Owner Feature film[79]
2008 Saas Bahu Aur Sensex Anita B. Jethmalani Feature film[80]
2009 Phoonk Dr. Seema Walke Feature film[81]
2009 Hari Puttar: A Comedy of Terrors Santosh 'Toshi' Feature film[82]
2010 Bollywood Beats Jyoti Feature film[83]
2010 I Am 24 Don's wife Feature film[84]
2010 Pankh Mary D'Cunha Feature film[85]
2010 Housefull Zulekha Bano Feature film[86]
2010 Break Ke Baad Pammi J. Gulati Feature film[87]
2011 Always Kabhi Kabhi Ms Das Feature film[88]
2012 Na Jaane Kabse Monika Feature film[89]
2012 Delhi in a Day Kalpana Feature film[90]
2012 The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Mrs. Kapoor British Feature film[91]
2012 Shobhna's Seven Nights Malishka Feature film[92]
2012 Heroine Mrs. Arora Feature film[93]
2013 Chashme Baddoor Ms Josephine Feature film[94]
2013 Dabba (The Lunchbox) Ila's mother Feature film[95]
2014 One by Two Kalpana Patel Feature film[96]
2014 Dr. Cabbie Nellie Canadian Feature film[97]
2015 The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Mrs. Kapoor British Feature film[98]
2015 A Million Rivers Roop Feature film[99]
2016 Aksar 2 Dolly Khambatta Feature film[100]
2017 Sonata Subhadra Feature film[101]
2019 3 Days to Go Matriarch Lakshmi Isaac South African Feature film in English[102]
TBA Tadka Samantha Feature film[103]
2019 Jhootha Kahin Ka Ruchi Mehta Feature film[104]
To be released Tryst with destiny Mrs. Ashwa Hindi / English[105]
To be released My cousin's wedding Khala US Feature film in English
2021 Blind dagger TBA Filming[106]

Television

Year Show Role Channel Notes
1984 Hum Log DD National First serial on National Network DD[107]
Janpath Kiss DD National A telefilm by Ranjit Kapoor
Prisoner of Malabar Hill DD National Telefilm
Newsline EL TV The first serial for EL TV costarring Vinod Nagpal
A Mouthful of Sky The first English Serial on Indian Television
1995 Samandar Vasundhara ZEE TV Co-starring Kabir Bedi[108]
1996 Just Mohabbat Sony TV Co-starring Ravi Baswani[109]
1997 Kabhi Kabhi Shama Joshi Star Plus Co-starring Alok Nath[110]
1998 Vakalat Zee TV Co-starring Manohar Singh[111]
1998 Aur Phir Ek Din Supporting Role of Chandani Star Plus Co-starring Kiran Kumar[112]
Raahein Role of a headstrong Mother - Lata Zee TV Co-starring Shefali Shetty
2000 Driving Miss Palmen Feature Film for Dutch Television[113]
2000 Apna Apna Style Shalini ZEE TV Co-starring Ratna Pathak Shah[114]
2006 By Invitation Only Host TIMES NOW .[115]
Khushi B4U TV Co-starring Mohan Joshi[116]
Piyaa Bina ZEE TV Co-starring Kulbhushan Kharbanda
Mumbai Calling BBC1 Star appearance in 1 episode[117]
Indian Summers Roshana Dalal Channel 1 2 Seasons all episodes co starring Roshan Seth
2015 Darr Sabko Lagta Hai Nanny &Tv [118]
Dance Like a Man Hotstar Cineplay[119][120][121]
Adhe Adhure Hotstar Cineplay[121]
Kanyadaan Hotstar Cineplay[121]
Womanly voices ZEE5 Cineplay[122]
2018 Love Handles (Ep05 - #PuranaPyaar) Mrs. Sharma Gorilla Shorts - YouTube Romantic Comedy Web Series[123]
The Art of Shantiniketan Host Epic Channel [124] An Art Documentary

Short films and Web series

Year Title Role Language Notes
2017 Chhoti Mother Hindi Short Film[125]
2018 Purana Pyaar Mrs. Sharma Hindi Finalist for Filmfare Short Film awards[126]
2018 Akoori Rita Shah Hindi Web Series [127]
2018 Yeh Crazy Dil Sunaina Hindi Web Series[128]
2019 Queen TV Host Tamil / Hindi / English Web Series[129]
2020 Seasons Greetings Suchitra Hindi Short Film[130]
2020 UNPAUSED Archana Hindi An Amazon Original Film[131]
2021 Qubool Hai 2.0 Nilofer Hindi Web Series
2021 Call My Agent As herself Hindi Web Series
To be released Reunion II Neena Hindi Web Series
To be released BIRTH Mama Nithya Hindi A short film
To be released Shock Ahlad Grandmother Bengali / Hindi / English Web series[132]

Nominations and Awards

NOMINATED

WON

References

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