Few years ago, Vikram Kapadia was invited to write and direct a monologue for an event held at the NCPA commemorating the 26/11 attacks. It was a buoyant rendition by a journalist about Mumbai and received critical acclaim. It was then that the veteran theatre personality figured that it would be a shame to have it staged only once. So, he made the effort of writing seven more pieces, to create an entire evening of theatre, which was named Bombay Talkies and was first staged in November 2011.
Now after almost two years, Kapadia is back with the Hindi adaptation of the same play, which premieres on April 25. Naushil Mehta was responsible for adapting the play in Hindi and Kapadia reveals that while the whole process was complex, the result is worth the effort. “When you adapt the play in another language, there will be a refraction of culture and so the perspectives get revised. It’s always a challenge to adapt someone else’s work — like recreating a new monument with different material from the original set of blueprints. But, I must admit that one story, Aapke Bhai Sahab, was so well adapted into Hindi that it works, culturally, far better than the original English version,” shares Kapadia.
The two-hour long play is about different people living in Mumbai, talking about their personal and private moments. The cast includes Shishir Sharma, Ratnabali Bhattacharjee, Rasika Dugal and Namit Das. Summarising the brighter points of the play, Kapadia feels that the rare combination of it being extremely funny and dark in the same breath, is fascinating.
“Besides, the genre — slice of life, is rare in India, as all acting is lamentably demonstrative. The plots are contemporary and the language is highly local in its idiom. Needless to say, that the work is original and not inspired by any foreign play, book or Hollywood / World Cinema. In short, it is very different from the regular Hindi ‘drama’ doing the rounds,” he reminds us.
The real world of Parsis
“I am writing a feature film that I will direct as well; it’s based on the Parsis and no — it’s not quirky, silly and one-dimensional. My film will portray Parsis as normal human beings and not as comic aliens as they are normally depicted in our cinema. If I were a Parsi I would have sued most films that have included Parsi characters. It is a highly sensitive plot with amazing resonances and will go the Oscar way — you can quote me on that!”
— Vikram Kapadia