Normally theatre personalities graduate to television and films, but Bollywood film-maker and poet Gulzar, who has made epoch-making films like "Aandhi" and "Maachis", is now all set to make a foray into theatre.
“Mera Kuch Samaan: Celebrating Gulzar” is a four-day theatre festival that opens at Kamani Auditorium here this Wednesday. Though the three plays “Kharaashein”, “Sunte Ho” and “Arre! O’ Henry” have been directed by Salim Arif, the language in the plays is quintessentially Gulzar.
“For this festival, I sought guidance from Salim because he is a master in his field. His theatre stands for a cause. He entertains but most importantly educates the masses through his plays.”
In a good-humoured way Gulzar promised that in future he will write in a way that his work can easily be adapted into a play.
Shedding light on “Kharaashein” which talks about the wounds inflicted by Partition, Gulzar said that while he was working with Salim in “Maachis” and “Mirza Ghalib” both were of the view that something needs to be done to heal the wounds of communal riots. The play is a sort of catharsis for him.
“Besides Partition, the plays talk about communal riots. It has the Mumbai riots as well as the Gujarat riots as reference points. Wherever riots erupted in the country, it affected both of us. The hurt feeling was so great that we decided to showcase it on the stage. Communal disturbances occur because of politics. This is the reason whey riots are not restricted to two major communities.”
According to Salim, “Kharaashein” has been adapted from Gulzar’s sensitive poems and brilliant stories on the theme of communal riots since Partition. “We have not pointed a finger at any community. Through this play all we are saying is that the people are not responsible for what they are feeling. “Sunte Ho” gives a reflection on the status of how women have been treated by men down the ages. “Arre! O’ Henry” has been adapted from American writer O. Henry’s four short stories by Gulzar Sahab.”
Despite doing commendable work on television, Gulzar is not keen to return to the small screen. “I have done a lot of TV. Since the younger generation has attention deficit, we need to come out of textbook material. I created 15 hours of Munshi Premchand which has his endearing stories like ‘Godaan’ and ‘Nirmala’ to draw the younger generation to books. I wanted to do something on Rabindranath Tagore, whose 150 birth anniversary was celebrated across the country. But could not do so due to politics and endless prognostication.”