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Feroz Khan speaks about his latest film Dekh Tamasha Dekh, his love for theatre and his memories of Farooque Sheikh

Seven years after Gandhi, My Father , Feroz Abbas Khan is all set for the release of his second film Dekh Tamasha Dekh. A political and social satire, Dekh Tamasha …is based on a true story told to Feroz by Mumbai’s former police commissioner, Satish Sawhney. “Some years ago, he told me of a man who was electrocuted, but when the body was handed over to his family, there was a problem identifying the body. The police had to take over his body to determine his religion. It became a huge issue. The whole case became volatile. The matter went to the judiciary. It’s stunning what happened in the end,” says Feroz, who was in town for a screening of the film at the Chamundeshwari Studio.

Dekh Tamasha… touches upon issues that are sensitive, yet determines much of our lives. “The film is not just about religion, yet it asks if our identity is bigger than our humanity. All year round, we keep yelling and shouting about corruption and the economy but when people vote, they often do so on the basis of caste and religion. Politicians have understood this only too well and they use this as currency to get power. Communal elements are expressing themselves in an unrestrained way these days.”

Feroz says that Dekh Tamasha… is a compelling story that is also entertaining. “You’d be affected emotionally and be forced to think, at the same time,” says the playwright, theatre director and screenwriter.

Dekh Tamasha… is quite different from Gandhi My Father , but Feroz says, it is just as powerful. “Whatever work I do, it first must affect me deeply.” The cast includes Satish Kaushik, Tanvi Azmi, Vinay Jain, Sharad Ponkshe and Ganesh Yadav. “I chose actors whom I felt were just right for the film.”

What took Feroz so long to make his second film? “I did have many offers, but I couldn’t make them, I ultimately decided to do Dekh Tamasha… The film was ready for a year, but I was busy with something else.”

What keeps Feroz busy is theatre. Among his well-known productions are Mahatma vs Gandhi , on which Gandhi, My Father is based, Tumhari Amrita , an Indian adaptation of A.R. Gurney’s Love Letters by Javed Siddiqui and Salesman Ramlal . “I prefer theatre,” and then with a huge smile says, “I love theatre. I am very comfortable with the language of theatre. Films have a time constraint. You need to be sharp in the way you come to solutions. But in theatre, the live experience is unmatched.”

Feroz becomes emotional when he speaks of Farooque Sheikh, who performed in many shows of Tumhari Amrita . “He was an extraordinary person. Shabana, he and I used to love coming together for Tumhari Amrita . The play was last performed in front of Taj Mahal.”

Dekh Tamasha Dekh will be released today.

The film is just not about religion, yet it asks if our identity is bigger than our humanity

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