The Chauda saal ka banwas (14 year exile) is over,” laughs Vipul Shah referring to his comeback to theatre. “Since I wasn’t from a film family, making movies has been a 24x7 commitment for over a decade. But I’ve been planning to return to my first love for the last three years and when this opportunity came up, I seized it.”
Back on stage
He will be presenting a play, Dhyanimani, a socio-psychological thriller written by Prashant Dalvi and first performed 15 years ago. With over 500 shows, it is a huge hit in the Marathi theatre circuit. “Ever since I saw it, I wanted to make it for a national audience. It’s one of the best plays to have come out in the last 50 years and I was delighted when Chandrakant Kulkarni, who directed the original, agreed to direct the Hindi version for me,” says Shah.
She eventually returned to movies but hasn’t done a play in a decade. “Nothing worthwhile came up,” she admits candidly. “But I had to do this one.” This is the first time the husband and wife will be working together on a play. Vipul who has done four plays earlier, had offered Shefali three of them but her busy schedule compelled her to turn him down.
With a smile he says, “But this is a performance-oriented role that no actress can refuse and Shefali is one of the best actresses in the country. Now that our boys are eight and seven, they can be left with their grandparents. I think secretly they prefer them to us because they are not so strict with chocolates and chips.”
On a good wicket
The play will open in Mumbai on August 15. “There’s nothing patriotic about it. It is a play about relationships. But 15 has always been my lucky number and Independence Day is a national holiday,” reasons Vipul, who plans to tour with it to other Indian cities later, and may be even go abroad with it.
Some of Vipul’s earlier plays have translated into movies like Aankhen and Waqt. How about this one? “That would depend on the audience’s reaction to it but I’m confident. With a brilliant script, a terrific director and a National Award-winning actress, I think I’m on a good wicket.”