The art of theatre
Salim Arif still remembers the day his play Kharaashein was staged ten years back. "It was immediately after the Gujarat riots and I was asked to do something on communal harmony
I said I will do that if I’m allowed to take issues head-on,” he says. The hugely popular play is part of his ongoing theatre festival. Salim speaks to CS about the play that completes ten years this July:
It’s unfortunate that riots keep taking place in some way or the other. My only purpose remains to remind people to not get manipulated by the situation. Don’t lose your sanity and don’t lose sight of the larger picture. The main strength of Kharaashein is that it shows how the common man gets caught in the middle of riots. The three main actors Yashpal Sharma, Atul Kulkarni and Lubna Salim have been a part of the play for the last ten years, and that’s been very encouraging for us. The play was very well-received and we have even shown it in New York.
Indebted to Gulzar
I’m very fortunate that right from day one, Gulzarji has been by my side. He’s been a constant source of strength and an anchor of sorts. We have worked together a lot and share a great comfort level. He understands my intentions and has seen the respect with which we perform our work. The greatest honour for me was when he released a book on short stories and dedicated it to me thrice. He’s been very generous when it comes to his writings, I have access to them as and when I require.
All is well
I have been hearing that theatre is going through a bad phase for the last 30 years. Of course, it is difficult to pursue, specially Hindi theatre, but Gujarati and Marathi theatre are thriving. There are many actors who have gone from theatre to Bollywood and have returned to do theatre. There are new writings and newer and younger people taking part. All that bodes well for theatre.