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Javed Akhtar's theatrical debut

The writer teamed up with wife Shabana for Kaifi aur Main at the Jaipur Virasat Festival. Arnab Banerjee tells more.

india Updated: Jan 24, 2007 18:50 IST

When the country's wordsmith says, "I am nervous," you sure do a double take. But it's his first appearance on stage that makes him a little tensed.

We are talking about Javed Akhtar, teaming up with his talented actor wife to enact some of the life's precious moments and times of his father in law Kaifi Azmi in the Ramesh Talwar directed play Kaifi Aur Main.

Javed Akhtar teamed up with wife Shabana to perform a two hour play which got staged at the Birla Auditorium during the Jaipur Virasat Festival last week.

An epistolary play Kaifi Aur Main has both Javed and Shabana read out letters to unfold the story about his parents-in-law.  
 
Is he nervous because of his wife Shabana sitting next to him? "I don't even bother who is sitting next to me as long as I can sort things out for myself. With reams of paper to be taken care of, controlling my emotions to get the right intonation and of course, putting my heart and soul into the life of a great man I admire, would make me feel nervy," laughs Akhtar.

Did he come across any unknown aspects of Kaifi's life while researching for the play? "There were many such nuggets which I want to present before the audiences, some of which would be pretty revealing too,” he grins.

”In fact many of his friends and others close to him who saw the play in Mumbai last month, were surprised at some of the little known facts about him, which have never been shared before.”

Which according to him is Kaifisaab’s best song? “There are many and all of them are wonderful songs. But I have noticed- and this is from my personal experience – that whenever and wherever the song Waqt ne kiya kya hasin situm, tum rahe na tum, hum rahe na hum… from Kaagaz ke Phool is sung, there is some magic that makes audience spellbound. And I have also seen the young and the old alike going into a trance while the rendition takes place on stage,” reminisces Akhtar.

And what about his favorite director?

“I believe that the craft, talent and futuristic vision, as well as unique story telling that director Guru Dutt had, is not to be seen among today’s most talented filmmakers. He was extraordinarily gifted,” says Akhtar.