Zeenat Aman on playing Kasturba Gandhi in Dearest Bapu, Love Kasturba

Updated: Feb 10, 2020, 08:00 IST | Shaheen Parkar | Mumbai

Veteran actor Zeenat Aman says she was surprised to be offered Gandhi's wife's role in Dearest Bapu, Love Kasturba.

Zeenat Aman
Zeenat Aman

My first reaction was, me as Kasturba Gandhi? Why me?" laughs Zeenat Aman, recounting her surprise when approached to step into the shoes of Mahatma Gandhi's wife for the play, Dearest Bapu, Love Kasturba. As she returns to theatre after over 15 years, the veteran actor has an author-backed role at hand — the English play, which premieres in the city on February 21, takes a look at the couple's 60-plus-year marriage against the backdrop of India's freedom struggle.

"We don't know much about the Mahatma's wife. This project provides a fascinating insight as the story is from her point of view. I took up the offer as I had a lot of time on hand," she says. Over the three-month rehearsals, she admits that her scepticism about the casting gave way to a deep respect for her muse. "[Once I wore] the white khadi saree, and sported grey hair and spectacles, I was excited." The actor adds that she has deliberately kept sons Zahaan and Azaan away from the rehearsals. "I can't wait to see their reaction on the opening night!"

Zeenat Aman

Writer-director Saif Hyder Hasan agrees that Aman — who, in her heydays, was known for infusing oomph into her characters — is an unconventional choice for the role. "Casting against type is interesting. When I wrote the play, I picked up the phone and called her."

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