The talented actor with the deep voice, will be directing and acting in the Punjabi adaptation of the iconic play ‘Tumhari Amrita’. Puri speaks to CS about his reasons for leaving and his return to the stage:
25 years later
I was scared of theatre. I had been toying with the idea of returning to theatre for the last couple of years. But it was like learning how to swim and then not swimming for 25 years. You will be scared to enter the water. That's also the reason why I picked up a simple play for my return. It is simple as there are no sets, no lighting and no music. It's just two characters who are in love with each other and keep sending letters to each other. The girl is a Hindu and the boy is a Muslim and the play is set during the partition. They are not able to get married and the play has a tragic ending. It is simple as there are no movements. There are just plain, simple emotions on display.
Reaching out to masses
What made me go away from theatre was the fact that I was hungry and greedy to reach out to the maximum number of people. For me, the spirit of theatre is communicating your feelings through great writing. That is what I tried to bring to as cinema has more reach. And for a good 15 years or so, I was lucky to do art cinema. I did films like Tamas, Ardhsatya, Akrosh among others. I did commercial films too to give myself and my family a better life. Now at this point, I feel reasonably secure. With the resources that I have earned over the years, I feel we should be able to live comfortably. And that's the reason I can choose to do theatre again.
Admiration for Naseer
I don't think I would have been able to balance theatre and films. I had been so busy with films that it would have been really difficult to do anything else. I admire Naseer who has been doing theatre for so long. He has a very sincere group.
I do plan to continue acting and directing plays. I will be doing a play and will start rehearsing in Delhi soon. I’m planning to make a political satire on the way discussions happen in Parliament. There is plan to make another play but that is a secret for now (smiles).