Acting in presence of al-Zaidi was scary: Imran Zahid
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Acting in presence of al-Zaidi was scary: Imran Zahid

Portraying Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi in the play The Last Salute was not easy for budding Bollywood actor Imran Zahid, especially when the shoe-thrower was intently watching the play in the front row. Parmita Uniyal tells more.

art and culture Updated: May 16, 2011 18:35 IST
Parmita Uniyal
Parmita Uniyal
Hindustan Times

Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi, who pioneered a new way of protest by hurling a shoe at US President George Bush, was visibly excited as well as emotional on his India visit for the premiere of the play

The Last Salute

. The play that was staged at Shri Ram Centre, Mandi House, was based on the shoe-throwing incident that created history.

The play was presented by Mahesh Bhatt in association with Asmita group. Strangely, al-Zaidi who is an ardent follower of Mahatma Gandhi, used violence (throwing shoe) as his weapon for non-violence; "throwing shoes is better than throwing bombs" being his motto.

Portraying him in the play was Imran Zahid, the Bollywood actor in making, who'd soon be seen in Mahesh Bhatt's


. Al-Zaidi who was sitting in the front row with Pooja Bhatt and Dino Morea gave a standing ovation to the play and hugged Imran Zahid after the completion of the play, saying "Thank You" to him.

It was not easy for Imran Zahid who has worked with Asmita group before to step into Muntadhar al-Zaidi's shoes. He admits acting in the play was the "best but scariest moment of his life".

"It was best because I was playing the role of a real life rebel who was also present in the auditorium. Moreover, the presence of Pooja Bhatt and Dino Moria made matters worse. The truth is that compared to these professionals, I am an amateur. But once the lights came on I realized I had to pour every bit of myself into the role. Then there was no looking back. Towards the end of the play my body began to whisper to me that we had succeeded in communicating the core message of our play to the audience."

The actor who was moved by people's response to the play was humble enough to say that it was "al-Zaidi's life that actually touched people and not his acting skills".

First Published: May 16, 2011 17:46 IST