Mahesh Bhatt would seem like the perfect personality for theatre. Yet, it’s not everyday that he steps onto the stage. Though these days, the opinionated speaker-filmmaker has been travelling across India with his theatrical work, The Last Salute.
On January 20, the closing show will be staged in the city. The play is based on the book The Last Salute To President Bush by the Iraqi journalist, Muntadhar Al-Zaydi, who hurled a shoe at the former American president at a press event in 2003. The author too will be attending the city show.The 75-minute long performance takes off with Bhatt on stage, reading out a letter to the audience. He recalls writing the piece on February 6, 2003.
“That was the day I refused to attend the 51st National Prayer Breakfast meeting. I can’t participate in a charade where you pretend to solve problems and then send armies,” he opines.
Arvind Gaur has directed the play, and Bhatt and Sandiip Kapur’s Promodome Films has produced it. Wouldn’t he have been interested in directing a subject, on a platform as effective as this?
“Theatre is another space. You require the understanding of the medium, which I don’t. This play is purely about the material.”
As of now, there are no plans to take the play to an international audience, as Bhatt feels, “Only India will allow us to stage a play like this. You can’t think of doing this in Pakistan or any other country. Most governments would be frightened.”
The theatrical production stars Bhatt’s latest discovery, Imran Zahid, in the lead, who he’s also cast in his home-production, Chandu and the Emraan Hashmi starrer Jannat 2.