Taj Mahal Ka Tender director Salim Arif is back with a sequel

May 13, 2018, 07:09 IST | Kusumita Das

The sequel of Salim Arif's Taj Mahal Ka Tender has Vrajesh Hirjee wearing the crown of Aurangzeb

Vrajesh Hirjee (centre) with Amit Behl (right) and Bakul Thakker
Vrajesh Hirjee (centre) with Amit Behl (right) and Bakul Thakker

After the success of his last comedy satire, Tajmahal Ka Tender, director Salim Arif is back with the sequel, aptly titled Tajmahal Ki Udghatan. For the uninitiated, Tajmahal Ka Tender was a reimagination of Shah Jahan's journey of building the Taj Mahal in today's times, in which the tedious bureaucracy never allows the emperor to realise his dream during his lifetime. In this play, his son Aurangzeb takes over to make it happen. And, the situation has gotten worse.

The play begins from the time when Aurangzeb is on the throne, and is facing a lot of opposition within his family and also among his subjects. "He needs a dream to sell," director Arif tells us. "One of his trusted courtiers suggests that he revive his father's abandoned project of the Taj Mahal. The story that follows shows what all he, as an emperor, has to go through to make it happen. It's a satirical take on how royalty means nothing when it comes to paperwork."

Standing in his way is an ambitious businessman who wants to bag the contract of building the Taj. "For him, the mausoleum part of things is least important. He wants to make a five-storey multipurpose structure. He wants entry to be classified into gold, silver, platinum," Arif says. Meanwhile, the royal Aurangzeb also needs to fight for votes, to win an election, as that's the only way he can come into absolute power.

Playing the character of the emperor is Vrajesh Hirjee. "I wanted someone who looks nothing like Aurangzeb, for the part. He needed to look believable as a king who goes knocking from door to door for votes. His comic timing is super. I feel he's among the finest actors these days. It's unfortunate that we don't give him more meatier roles," the director says.

In the play, Aurangzeb is the only character who dons a period costume. "That's because we are not in his time, he is in our time," Arif explains. The play has been written by former Indian Railways employee Ajay Shukla, who also wrote Taj Mahal Ka Tender. Other cast members include Amit Behl, Bakul Thakkar, Tapan Bhatt and Lubna Salim, who is also the producer.

When: 7.30 pm onwards, May 19
Where: The Royal Opera House, Charni Road
Entry: Rs 826-R2,360
Log on to: bookmyshow.com

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