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From Herat’s heart

A female theatre director from Afghanistan, talks of her passion as she readies for the Delhi audience.

art and culture Updated: Mar 13, 2010 01:35 IST
Aakriti Sawhney

She told her family that by choosing acting as a career, she won’t be violating any of their customs and beliefs. But her community back home in Herat, Afghanistan, doesn’t approve of a girl performing on stage.



Meet theatre director and actor Monireh Hashemi. On her third trip to India, Hashemi is all set to present a play titled

Salsal

and Shahmaama

at Sangeet Natak Akademi in Connaught Place, today. “My play is a story of two sisters who live near the Buddha statues of Bamyan in Afghanistan,” says Hashemi. Performed under the banner of Leela, the first South Asian women’s theatre festival, the play unfolds the story of Salsal, the man and Shahmaama, the woman, and their quest to discover the history of Buddha statues, which were destroyed by theTaliban in 2001.



“We want people to see Afghanistan not as a place of war and terror but a country that speaks the language of art, culture and friendship,” she says.



Hashemi calls Delhi “a really beautiful city”. She likes going to Janpath each time she comes here. “During my last visit, I bought gifts for my mother from there,” she recalls.



The Afghan director finds Indian theatre quite vibrant. Though she can’t understand any of the Indian languages, she loves watching regional theatre every time she’s in town. But it’s the Indian cinema that fascinates her the most. “I love Bollywood movies. The last ones I saw were

Veer Zaara

and Devdas. They were brilliant,” she says.



The play will open today at Meghdoot Open Air Theatre (Sangeet Natak Akademi), Copernicus Marg, 8.30 pm.