For his production, The Persians, in the National School of Drama (NSD) recently, Uzbek playwright Ovlyakuli Khodjakuli did something that noone had attempted there before. He had a one metre, 20 centimetre long bunker dug in the premises of NSD. “The play, which was performed by NSD’s second-year students, was a Greek tragedy, and the bunker was constructed beneath the set to depict hell. The play captures the pain of the war victims,” says Khodjakuli, who has directed over 60 plays of dramatists like Sophocles, Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde.
He has travelled to many countries, including Romania, Russia, Italy and Japan for his shows. But it is India and its people that he considers as his own. “India is where I belong. I think, in my previous birth, I was an Indian,” he says. His association with India, particularly Delhi, goes back to 2006, when he was part of a theatre project. “My outlook towards the city hasn’t changed, I still love the food and people here.” Though a big fan of late filmmaker Raj Kapoor, Khodjakuli doesn’t know many present Bollywood stars. “I’ve not seen any movies lately. I want to keep the good memories of Raj Kapoor with me,” he sums up.