Nostalgia provides a great sense of comfort and can lull you into inertia, especially if you’ve had a glorious past. But not if you are theatre personality Sam Kerawalla. The 81 year-old director and light designer continues to delight. Today, he premieres his play Miss Bindass, which he has also written.
Miss Bindass, an English comedy, is part of Silly Point Productions’ Get Silly Theatre Festival. The play is about the friction that’s created when a woman with fairly accommodating morals runs into a man with rigid values. She’s bindass and he, well, not so much.
Kerawalla took a long hard look at his life and the lives of his friends to find material for Miss Bindass. He says, “The idea arose out of several incidents that occurred in my and my friends’ lives. It’s everything I learnt from them. I compiled them into episodes and wrote the play.”
Miss Bindass is a story about a young girl who gets pregnant and lands up in a simple Parsi man’s house, on the run. As Kerawalla describes him, the man lives in Khusro Bagh, drives an old Fiat, and has a simple job. When she asks for monetary assistance, alarm bells ring and the man realises that she’s not all innocent.
Kerawalla has no issues working with younger actors. He says that an actor, belonging to any generation, should have dedication. And that’s what his team consisting of Danesh Irani, Maanvi Gagroo, Ameen Kazerouni, Shikha Talsania and Pheroza Modi has. He even draws parallels between his old friend and actor Homi Daruwalla and young actor Danesh Irani. He says, “While I was writing, I had Danesh in mind. This is not a farcical comedy but a comedy with a slightly serious angle. An actor has to have great control over himself in a play like this. When I see Danesh perform, I see a reflection of Homi.”
In the past Kerawalla has very boldly stated that: ‘Theatre is my religion.’ And he has stuck by it. Kerawalla, who started out designing lights for stage and even designed lights for the song Aap Jaisa Koi from Qurbaani, began scriptwriting on the insistence of his friend and theatre legend Adi Marzban. He’s waiting for a mature enough time to stage his play about homosexuality.
Which brings us to the question — has theatre changed over the years? Kerawalla says, “Every once in a while theatre takes a backseat be it to films, TV or the digital medium yet, it retains its own flavour. It always comes up in one form or the other.”