They are both 21 and seemingly attached at the hip. They even wear complementary colours when they turn up for a photoshoot and joke about ending up with each other if they aren’t married by the time they hit 40. Tanvi Patel and Nayantara Nayar have known each for three years and have directed several plays, both in college and out of it. “We were in first year of college, when we adapted and acted in ‘The Importance of Being Freaks’, an adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s play. Our seniors were so irritated at the audacity of us first years to actually stage a full length play!” says Nayantara. “But that’s how our collaboration started off,” says Tanvi. The duo, who graduated from Stella Maris College this year, went on to perform for the Airtel-Evam Theatricals and in several college plays. “It was only in our third year that we took directing seriously,” confides Nayantara, who by this time, establishes herself as the talker of the duo. “We picked Neil Gaiman’s ‘Rumours’ and we pulled it off. It was such a roaring success that we did it again at the Music Academy,” says Nayantara. Tanvi, predictably, leans in to add, “That was when we were invited to join Crea-Shakthi.”
Together, they directed Stella Maris’s college play, 12 Angry Jurors, and more recently, Crea-Shakthi’s Blithe Spirit that went on stage earlier this year. And they are both directing plays that the other is starring in for the Short and Sweet Festival.
Seemingly the youngest of the lot, the girls don’t seem to find a lot of difference in the way they are treated by the others – both in terms of age and gender. “I’d say directing men is the easiest of tasks. They’re such good listeners! The whole men-don’t-take-women seriously mentality doesn’t exist anymore,” says Tanvi.
And what’s the best part of being women, who work together? “We get to influence each other in a way that completely different from how others might work together. We help expand each others’ horizons,” says Nayantara with a smile.