It is upsetting to see theatres named after politicians instead of artists: Naseeruddin Shah - Hindustan Times
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It is upsetting to see theatres named after politicians instead of artists: Naseeruddin Shah

Jan 19, 2024 07:18 AM IST

He was speaking at the inauguration of “Shreeram Lagoo Rang–Avakash” set up by the Lagoo family of late Dr Shreeram Lagoo and his wife Deepa Lagoo, synonymous with theatre and Pune, and the Maharashtra Cultural Centre on Thursday

Veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah on Thursday questioned why theatres in India are named after politicians instead of artistes.

Veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah during the event in Pune on Thursday. (HT PHOTO)
Veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah during the event in Pune on Thursday. (HT PHOTO)

He was speaking at the inauguration of “Shreeram Lagoo Rang–Avakash” set up by the Lagoo family of late Dr Shreeram Lagoo and his wife Deepa Lagoo, synonymous with theatre and Pune, and the Maharashtra Cultural Centre on Thursday. The project is developed on the first floor of the Jyotsna Bhole Sabhagruha Building, Hirabaug, Tilak Road.

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Shah said, “It bothers me as an artiste to know that there are theatres named after politicians but not artistes like Shambhu Mitra, Utpal Dutt, Girish Karnad, BV Karnath, Satyadev Dubey or Tanvir Habib. Even a state like Maharashtra, which has been the birthplace of theatre plays, does not have theatres in the name of theatre artists except Dr Kashinath Ghanekar and Bal Gandharva.

“But today, I feel privileged and fortunate enough to have inaugurated the ‘Shreeram Lagoo Ranga – Avakash’ in Pune. I hope this space becomes the second home for artistes who would perform here.”

According to Shah, during 1971, when he was studying in the second year of the National School of Drama (NSD), he saw Dr Lagoo’s play “Aadhe Adhoore”.

“I had already read the Hindi version of it, twice. But the moment I saw Dr Lagoo perform in this play, my heart skipped a beat, and my eyes were left wide open! His intonation and the clarity in voice were outstanding and audience could hear it till the last row. The way his eyes did the talking, and the way he controlled his emotions, felt as if his craft played on his fingertips. I was stunned by Dr Lagoo’s performances in ‘Gidhada’, ‘Kasturi’ and ‘Surya Pahilela Manus’. I even asked myself if I could ever perform like him, but the answer was no. But as a young artiste, I unknowingly kept learning from him like ‘Eklavya’,” he said.

Dr Mohan Agashe, present during the occasion, said in today’s changing times, Dr Shreeram Lagoo and Naseeruddin Shah can be called “theatre loyalists” as they have always remained dedicated to theatres despite their popularity as film stars.

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