Rohini Hattangadi: Alyque Padamsee didn't need Attenborough's diction tutors

Updated: Nov 18, 2018, 15:56 IST | Shaheen Parkar

I considered Alyque a senior director-actor, who understood his craft well; someone you could look up to

Rohini Hattangadi played Kasturba Gandhi and Alyque Padamsee essayed Muhammad Ali Jinnah in Richard Attenborough's Gandhi (1982)
Rohini Hattangadi played Kasturba Gandhi and Alyque Padamsee essayed Muhammad Ali Jinnah in Richard Attenborough's Gandhi (1982)

"As he did English theatre and I was into Marathi plays, we knew each other. Theatre folk have this bond, irrespective of the language they perform in. I considered Alyque a senior director-actor, who understood his craft well; someone you could look up to. I also knew him as an ad maverick.

Though we were familiar with each other by name, we got acquainted when we started preparing for Gandhi. The casting was done by Dolly Thakore, who proved to be another connection. What I distinctly recall is his voice. He would only speak in English and it was impeccable. I used to feel intimidated by him. For me, he spoke like the British. I used to be tongue-tied and wonder if I could complete a sentence properly as I came from a Marathi background. At times, I used to marvel at the way he spoke the language.

There were tutors on the set as Richard Attenborough was particular about the way we spoke in English in the film. I don't think Alyque needed them. Unfortunately, I did not share screen space with Alyque in the film, as most of my scenes were with Ben Kingsley. I would quietly observe him at work. As he was an actor and a director, he knew exactly what was going on in front of and behind the camera. He was passionate about the stage and not films: that's what I liked about him. When I saw Gandhi, I could visualise no one else as Jinnah but Alyque — he had brought him alive."

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