Last year, theatre goers enjoyed watching Ek Mulaqat, directed by playwright Saif Hyder Hasan, which staged the relationship between poet-lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi and writer Amrita Pritam.
Dipped in the same old-world charm is Hasan's next play, Gardish Mein Taare, which will bring the tumultuous marriage of singer Geeta Dutt and actor-film-maker Guru Dutt to the fore.
Starring Sonali Kulkarni and Arif Zakaria, the play will take viewers down memory lane to the golden age of Bollywood, soaked in music and the charm of its times. Sonali, who essays the role of the popular singer, talks about her preparation and the experience of working on the play.
What was your reaction to being offered the role of Geeta Dutt?
I was enchanted at the first reading session. I am a fan of both, Guru Dutt and Geeta Dutt, but what captivated me was Saif's passion towards the era. Also, this will be an experimental performance for me, since I have never portrayed a real-life character on stage. If I can even touch her grace and make people feel her conflict, I will be satisfied.
What was your perception of the '50s, and has it changed now?
I knew several stories about the famous couple from various people. But after doing this play, I have become more compassionate towards their tribulations, challenges and their journey together. The play is not just about them as a couple. Guru Dutt wasn't a commercial film-maker. So, there's a lot about both characters' individual creative journey that we will explore in this production. Also, I am in awe of that era and its people.
Will we see you singing popular Geeta Dutt songs?
Music is an integral part of the play. Though we have recorded a fresh score for the play, which is our tribute to the era, I will be singing songs such as 'Waqt ne kiya kya haseen sitam' and 'Na jao saiyan'. So, I am training for both, singing and acting, for the performance.
What do you think the audience will relate to the most in the play?
Though there is a strong Bollywood connect, at a personal level, we all go through conflicts and tragedies in our relationships. So, people will associate with those issues.
Which are your favourite films from that era?
Two of my favourite films from that era are Guide (1965) and Jewel Thief (1967).
Apart from theatre, are you working on any films right now?
My Marathi film, Dr Prakash Baba Amte: The Real Hero (2014), alongside Nana Patekar released a few months back. It has been getting wonderful reviews from all segments of the audience. I don't have any immediate releases right now, but I will be working on a few projects this year.