MUMBAI: On Tuesday, Mumbaiites experienced the surreal when they witnessed the legendary British actor Sir Ian McKellen introduce Richard III (1995), a film based on Shakespeare’ s play and then see him 20 years younger playing the Machiavellian part on screen at NCPA.
Shown as part of the British Film Institute and the British Council’s Shakespeare Lives on Film programme, the film explores the character of Richard of Gloucester, who kills his brother and nephews to become the king.
Unlike the play, the script is set in the twentieth century when Europe was assuming Fascist leanings.
Watching the film for the first time, 27-year-old Bandra resident Daylyn D’Souza shared, “It was a mind blowing experience. I love watching films, but I had been putting Shakespearan cinema off because I was afraid of it. But not any more. The film is so relevant, it could practically be counted as a modern movie with its themes and techniques.”
Sir McKellen admitted that his stage adaptation inspired him to take up the script for cinema, where he produced, wrote and played the protagonist all for free.
He said, “Shakespeare should always be performed in modern dress. He is always bringing characters alive for the present time.”