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First and last love

chandigarh Updated: Sep 26, 2012 11:26 IST
SD Sharma
SD Sharma

“A theatre production should be aimed at and devised to offer an absorbing drama, replete with socio-cultural connotations and meaningful entertainment. What it offers should have some meaning for the life that we live and for the society we live in,” said acclaimed thespian and film actor, Nadira Zaheer Babbar, director of Ekjute theatre, Mumbai, while in city.

The recipient of Sangeet Natak Akademy award (2001) and a gold medallist alumnus of National School of Drama (NDS), Nadira went to Germany for advanced studies on a scholarship before essaying the role of Aishwariya Rai’s mother in the film, Bride and Prejudice (2004), and doing a
prominent role in MF Hussain’s Meenaxi — A Tale of Three Cities (2004).

Despite featuring in offbeat movies, Nadira’s first love, all along, remained theatre and Ekjute (commissioned in 1981, the theatre has staged over 60 productions). In Chandigarh on Tuesday to present her new play, Yaar Banaa Buddy, Nadira talked to HT City about the blossoming of her group in particular and theatre in general.

The catch between western impacts and native traditions — when people from the so-called lower-middle class attain money and try to emulate the lifestyles of the English — is the crux of her production, she disclosed.

“Blissfully ignorant, many of us are living a naqli jindgi, as projected in my play with a subtle satire. The most challenging job, however, has been to come up with new productions that appeal to people, to cover up losses from previous plays. But, it’s thanks to the awakening audience and sometimes the support from the government, that we can think of serving society in different ways,” said Nadira.

On her acting potential, she said, “Ever since the formation of Ekjute, I have been confined to making new productions and finding venues. In the process, my ambitious dreams and acting have suffered. Hazaaro khwais-hen aisi ke har khwahish se damm nikle. I have, however, been getting due respect from act-ors and artistes back stage.”

About theatre festivals, which sometimes end up becoming mere rituals, she suggested that besides
workshops for drama lovers, an interactive session after each play would ensure better staging of plays.