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Naseeruddin Shah’s latest play is an unusual theatrical experiment

Shah will direct himself as a man suffering from dementia in the award-winning play originally written in French by Florian Zeller.

mumbai Updated: Sep 02, 2017 11:59 IST
Deepa Gahlot
Deepa Gahlot
Hindustan Times
Naseeruddin Shah,Play,Theatre
The veteran actor’s latest experiment is to run a play, The Father, for month-long runs at two venues in Mumbai.
The Father
  • WHERE: Experimental Theatre, NCPA, Nariman Point
  • WHEN: Six days a week, 7 pm
  • TICKETS: Rs 590

If Naseeruddin Shah says of his work on the stage, that “there wasn’t and still isn’t another activity in the world I’d give up everything for,” it is not for effect.

He is among the handful of film stars who has not severed his ties with theatre; he has, in fact, pulled his film fans into the theatres to watch plays like Einstein, Arms and the Man and Gadh-ha Aur Gadd-ha, A Walk In The Woods and Dear Liar.

His latest experiment is to run a play, The Father, for month-long runs at two venues in Mumbai. He writes in a director’s note, “I had read that plays in the West sometimes ran for years.

It seemed too good to be true that the actors in these plays trod the boards every single night! … I fantasized often about doing the same…”

He took the plunge with a Moliere Award-winning play originally written in French by Florian Zeller and translated into English by Christopher Hampton. It has a part that seems tailor-made for Shah – a man suffering from dementia, going through a difficult time.

He is a few years younger than great actors like actor like Robert Hirsch and Frank Langella, who have played the part in Western productions. Plays about aging tend to be morbid tear-jerkers, but The Father has been described by Zeller as a tragic farce.

Except for Shah all the other parts have been double cast. Which other actor would have the stamina to perform 30 shows at a stretch? Shah’s wife, Ratna and daughter Heeba alternate to play the character’s daughter.

The other cast members include Sayan Mukherjee, Saahil Vaid, Bhavna Pani, Aahana Kumra, Neeraj Kabi, Faisal Rashid, Trishla Patel, Prerna Chawla and Jaya Virrley.

Shah is living out his dream, now it is up to the audience to help fulfil it.

First Published: Sep 01, 2017 22:02 IST