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Naseeruddin Shah: Films on Shakespeare’s plays work better than theatre adaptations

Actor Naseeruddin Shah feels that William Shakespeare’s works are timeless, and they make sense in any country at any time.

bollywood Updated: Aug 21, 2017 16:54 IST
Samarth Goyal
Samarth Goyal
Hindustan Times
Naseeruddin Shah,Bollywood,Vishal Bharadwaj
Actor Naseeruddin Shah will be soon seen in Hungry which is adapted from Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus. (HT Photo)

English playwright William Shakespeare’s work has inspired many in the field of films and theatre across the world. Actor Naseeruddin Shah, who has experience of working in both mediums, says Shakespeare’s plays are better suited as film adaptations in India.

The 68-year-old, who will soon be seen in Hungry — adapted from the playwright’s first play, Titus Andronicus — says, “I’ve acted in a few plays by him. The language is so archaic that it’s a bit difficult for the audience to comprehend ... It has happened many times that after the play, people came up to me and said, ‘Play toh acha tha, lekin words samajh nai aaye (It was a good play, but we didn’t understand the words)’.”

Having also worked in Vishal Bharadwaj’s films, Maqbool (2003) and Omkara (2006), which were adapted from Shakespeare’s plays, Shah says that Indian films have been getting inspired by his works for the longest time now. “Not directly, but they have been borrowing a lot of things from his plays over the years. The films also do well and people are able to relate to it [his work] better.”

Talking about how the Bard has influenced cinema and theatre across the globe, the actor adds, “His stories can apply anywhere in any time. There are a lot of French and Japanese movies and plays which keep on adapting their projects from his plays. There is a sense of universality in his comedies as well.”

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First Published: Aug 21, 2017 16:54 IST