If you are into Urdu poetry, there’s reason to cheer this weekend. Pierrot’s Troupe, Delhi’s popular theatre group, will be showcasing three plays — KL Saigal, Lal Qile Ka Aakhiri Mushaira and Ghalib Ke Khat — in the city. Theatre veteran Tom Alter plays the lead in all three. KL Saigal has been staged in Mumbai a couple of times, but this will be the first time that audiences will get to see the other two plays.
KL Saigal, named after the popular yesteryear singer, revolves around his journey beyond Indian cinema. “It’s about his life in Jammu, Delhi, Kanpur and Moradabad,” says M Sayeed Alam, the director, adding, “Tom Alter plays an old man, who’ll sing five of his less-popular ghazals.”
Set in the 1850s, Lal Qile Ka Aakhri Mushaira takes off from a hypothetical incident and is based on a certain last poets’ meet at the Red Fort. “It focuses on the rich poetry that India had back then and features 12 of the greatest Urdu poets having a conversation,” says Alam.
Ghalib Ke Khat is based on the letters of popular Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib. “It’s the first ever multi-actor play on Ghalib. It features his wife, Umrao Begum, who reviews all her husband’s letters,” says Alam, adding, “She introduces the audience to some of Ghalib’s disciples and friends, who are historical personalities, but society was oblivious to their identities. One among them is Persian poet Mirza Hargopal Taftah, played by Alter.”
Was there any particular reason to rope in Alter to portray all three roles? “I’ve known Tom for 11 years and we’ve done seven plays together. I couldn’t think of anyone who could speak Urdu better,” says Alam.
The plays will be staged from March 1 to 3, at YB Chavan Auditorium, 7 pm onwards. Tickets are priced at R100 onwards. Call 98929 34236/3989 5050 for details.