Renowned writer and columnist Chandrakant Bakshi is known as much for his writing prowess as for his idiosyncrasies. The maverick, who is touted as the most controversial Gujarati author, wore several caps with ease.
He was an avid marathon runner, a good orator who left audiences spellbound with his fiery speeches and made headlines with his saucy statements. The author, who penned 178 books and wrote on a wide gamut of subjects including history and culture, politics and travel, loved to lead life on his own terms. Intrigued by his larger-than-life persona, renowned Gujarati director Manoj Shah decided to delve into Bakshi’s psyche in his latest production, Hu, Chandrakant Baxi.
The 90-minute mono-act takes viewers from his early days when he majored in history from Kolkata and was greatly influenced by Marxist ideology to his stint as a Mumbai sheriff in the ’90s. Shah explains, “I was toying with the idea to helm a play on Bakshi since two years. He was a prolific writer who had a large fan following and always managed to stay in the news thanks to his eccentricities.
He would proclaim that he was a non-vegetarian and make journalists wait for long hours when they would go to interview him. He proclaimed nonchalantly while penning columns for magazines like Chitralekha, Yuvadarshan, Abhiyan and newspapers such as Gujarat Samachar and Sandesh that the masses were his boss and not the publication owners.”
Since Shah had been reading Bakshi’s works and followed his life closely since many years, he didn’t do too much research. However, he maintains that rather than adapting a direct approach and making the play an autobiography, he wanted to make it interesting. “It took us six months to devise the play as I wanted to lend my own interpretation to the piece and give a twist to the tale. My production basically provides answers to what made Chandrakant Bakshi the way he was,” the director concludes.
When: June 16, 4:30 pm and 9 pm
Where: Prithvi Theatre, Janki Kutir, Juhu