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Blackbird receives standing ovation

| ASIRA TARANNUM
Published : Jan 17, 2016, 10:24 pm IST
Updated : Jan 17, 2016, 10:24 pm IST

The second last day of the five-day theatre festival Khidkiyan saw a healthy amount of industry footfalls throughout the action-packed day.

Swanand Kirkire in a still from the play Blackbird
 Swanand Kirkire in a still from the play Blackbird

The second last day of the five-day theatre festival Khidkiyan saw a healthy amount of industry footfalls throughout the action-packed day. Himanshu Kohli and Prashant Kumar’s play Blackbird starring Swanand Kirkire and Salony Luthra was a much-awaited one and it received a stellar response, replete with a standing ovation.

There was also a music performance by Pratul Joshi, which was followed by another musical performance by Mukesh Chhabra’s father T.C. Chhabra. He charmed the audience with his rendering of some golden Hindi melodies. Actor Manav Kaul recited one of his poems and renowned theatre personality Kumud Mishra spoke of his journey in theatre peppered with his signature humour.

Blackbird saw an impressive celebrity attendance that included Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Kabir Khan, Aanand L. Rai, Radhika Apte, Piyush Mishra, Varun Sharma, Neetu Chandra, Deepak Dobriyal, Ashwini Iyer, Rajshri Deshpande, and Shweta Tripathi. For Nawaz, it was a trip down memory lane. Speaking of Blackbird, the actor said that this is the first play he has seen in 11 years. “I loved the play. Swanand and I were in theatre together and we have done some plays together. I was reminded of those days while watching the play,” he said while admitting that he is left with no time to go back to his first love — theatre. “I would love to do a play but I am tied up with films. For theatre you need two-three months of preparation and the right frame of mind.”

The Bajrangi Bhaijaan went on to share an anecdote about how Mukesh and he started their journey in theatre together. “Mukesh and I did theatre for many years in Delhi and after a point we started wondering what to do next. We had no money. At that moment, I thought, if we have to die hungry in Delhi, then it’s better that we should do it in Mumbai. Who knows our destiny might change! That’s how we landed here,” he said with a smile. When he took to the stage, the audience couldn’t stop cheering for him. They even requested him to say some his lines from his films.

Director Kabir Khan also spoke of his admiration for Mukesh. “He has created a very interesting platform. Unfortunately, times are such that Bollywood appears to have overshadowed every other cultural activity. So it is very important that we fight hard to keep theatre alive. If Mukesh can make this into a travelling theatre festival, it will be superb. In Mumbai and Delhi, there is already a vibrant theatre culture, but it needs to spread to other cities. We will all be there to support him,” he said. For a lot of filmmakers, it is also about getting acquainted with new talents. Tanu Weds Manu director Anand L. Rai said, “I don’t know about others, but I surely am getting great advantage. I get to connect with young actors and it’s a learning experience for me. What more does a director want besides good actors ”

Seconding Anand, Radhika said, “Theatre, sadly, has a limited reach so an initiative like this that combines both, becomes beneficial for both parties. Films can always benefit from the talent theatre has to offer, while theatre could totally do with more popularity coming its way. I am very happy to be a part of Mukesh’s initiative.”