Theatre Speaks

Saleem Shah Theatre Speak

Which is the last play you liked and why?
SONS OF BABUR - well written and creatively presented with good performances.

Your favourite adda to see a play...
Hmmm..well NCPA in Mumbai and Indian Habitat Center and Kamani in New Delhi

Your favourite playwright...
Neil Simon :)

Your favourite play-character...
The main antagonist in Reginald Rose's TWELVE ANGRY MEN

A play you would like to see filmed. Why?
PAKISTAN AUR ALZHEIMER'S - it's brilliantly written by Dr M Sayeed Alam and a solo enacted by me. The cinematic adaptation will enhance the whole act manifold.

A novel/short story you would like to see on stage? Why?
Sevakram Nirbhay Ke Teen Patra - a short story written by Padmashree Sharad Joshi. It is witty, relevant, sarcastic, farcical etc. etc. Something that only a genius like Sharad ji or Parsai ji can write. Great possibilities for adaptation in today's times. I have been thinking of doing it for a long time but somehow not happened. There is an emotional reason also; long back in Mumbai around early nineties, I had adapted another story of Sharad Joshi for stage and that was the first attempt by anyone in Mumbai, to do a stage production based on a short story.

The most hilarious play you have seen...

A play, which is over-hyped...

An important play (but ignored):

A play character you would like to “dialogue” with...
Well if you are hell bent to grant me a 'Death Wish', I will choose characters from my good friend, Makrand Deshpande's earlier plays

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

A classical play that you should have read...

A play that changed your perception about the theatre....
Well I will not say changed but rather enhanced my quest for it - Dishantar's production of EK RUKA HUA FAISLA - adapted and directed by Ranjit Kapoor

How do you regard the Mumbai/Indian theatre scene?
Not bad!! It was supposedly dying for decades but still surviving. Although we should get rid of the so called Extravaganza Circus/Film Songs/Bollywood studded Variety Shows that are camouflaged and presented as theatre productions.

Have you read any interesting books/articles concerning the theatre? Why did you find them interesting?
Hahahaha..Well I have; It was a part of my preparing to be an actor myself so I had to find them interesting - there was no other way!

Can you recall an event that was insightful, significant or simply humorous in your theatre journey?
During one of the shows of PAKISTAN AUR ALZHEIMER'S in Delhi, 15 minutes or so into the play, the bed on which I was sitting gave way and I came crashing down. Ohh!! I shudder even now when I think of that. Though I am old warrior of stage and have come across many odds/ mess ups while performing, but this was too much. For about 10 seconds, which seemed like 10 years, I did not know what to do! How to take it forward...but thanks to Almighty, my experience guided me and I proceeded. The interesting ironical part was that a lot of the audiences, including some of our group guys who had not seen this particular play thought that this was a part of the script.

The take away from this is 'To always personally check your props/sets before a show' - That day there was a paucity of time and I had depended on my backstage team.

Can you think of a foreign production that you found remarkable? Why?
The original production of THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES - Content, Relevance, Performance!

Your favourite director/actor/music or set designer...
Director : Pandit Satyadev Dubey
Actor : Bhakti Barve
Set Designer : Nisar Allana

A significant Indian production that you may have witnessed.....
MAHABHOJ - Directed by Amal Allana for NSD Repertory

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?
Well that is undoubtedly at Prithvi Theatre
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