Theatre Speaks

Amit Behl
Actor

Which is the last good play you saw and why?

EINSTEIN...Naseeruddin Shah was in top form and it was superbly layered. The design was also very interesting.

Your favourite adda to see a play...

It will always be Prithvi as I grew up learning the ropes there, my first performance there was in 1984, seen it change over the years, but the excitement of watching intimate theatre at Prithvi is unbeatable.

Your favourite playwright...

Many international playwrights but Vijay Tendulkar is my all time favourite because of his vast repertoire, hard hitting premises and forever relevant.

Your favourite play-character...

Vershinin from Anton Chekhov's THREE SISTERS.

A play you would like to see filmed. Why?

Gulzar's KHARASHEIN, as it has great cinematic potential and all short stories can be woven into one theme, which is relevant in today's socio/political scenario.

A novel/short story you would like to see on stage? Why?

Vikram Chandra's LOVE & LONGING IN MUMBAI as it captures the dramatic ethos and multi-cultural fabric of this dream city...

The most hilarious play you have seen...

At the risk of sounding very crass...BOTTOMS UP by Bharat Dabholkar

A play, which is over-hyped...

Will not comment as theatre is a difficult place to be in, to produce, to sustain, etc. Hence I credit every theatre person with complete reverence for their attempts, however good or bad,they may be....

An important play (but ignored)..

Bhisham Sahani's MUAAVZE

A play character you would like to "dialogueā€¯ with...

Mepisthopheles from FAUST...would love to interrogate him on stage...

A passage from an important play that you can recite...

It's from Gulzar's PAANSA....

Yudhishtir replying to Yaksh's questions...When he asks, Guroor kya hai?

Yudhishtir replies saying, "Guroor e Yaksh, Naadanon ki galati hai, Sab ki doriyan baazigar be apni ungli se baandhi Hai, Jo aadam samajhta hai ki uski koshish hai, Woh baazigar ki ek ungli ki jumbish hai..

A classical play that you should have read...

ELECTRA, OEDIPUS and CLYTEMNESTRA

A play that changed your perception about the theatre....

Peter SCHAFFER'S EQUUS...undoubtedly

How do you regard the Mumbai theatre scene?

It's always been vibrant, multilingual, varied performance spaces, every auditorium with its own history, the healthy competition, the only place in the country where a successful play can have countless runs.

Have you read any interesting books/articles concerning the theatre? Why did you find them interesting?

I keep on going back to all of Peter Brooke's works as they are always an eye opener. Also the Mumbai Theatre Guide is a good way of keeping one updated.

If you have ever been a part of a theatre production/s, can you recall an event that was insightful, significant or simply humorous?

Having spent over three decades in the theatre across the country and travelled the world with innumerable productions, there are a lot of insightful incidents, but having worked with the talented team of Salim Arif, Lubna Salim and the legendary Gulzar Sahab, has given me an insight into the depth of human understanding. Hence very difficult to zero down on a particular incident. Theatre has its own highs, lows, funny, sad moments that stay with you for a lifetime and I'm no different.

Can you think of a foreign production that you found remarkable? Why?

The Footsbarne Theatre's MIDSUMMERS NIGHTS DREAM for its energy, design, and a superb adaptation of Shakespeare's work.

Your favourite director/actor/music or set designer...

Favourite director would be my guru Ebrahim Alkazi, who also designed his own sets; Favourite actor on stage has to be Paresh Rawal for his sheer madness and command on the craft

A significant Indian production that you may have witnessed.....

PIYA BEHRUPIYA...I don't think I need to give a reason for this

Life in the theatre without the humble batata-wada or the cutting chai... or can you recall the best gastronomic experience you've had in the precincts of the theatre to date?

Too many for me--the batata wadas near Chhabildas Theatre in Dadar, waiting to earn our small cover to get an Irish coffee and a kheema parantha at Prithvi, the chutney sandwich, chai and mini batata wadas at Dinanath and Bhaidas...,
 
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