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Ace Actor Naseeruddin Shah Captivated Audience With A Brilliant Reading Of Premchand’s Masterpiece, ‘Shatranj Ke Khiladi’

Mumbai” ‘The Quest’ presented by Aberlour is an attempt to explore the complexities of artistic performances. The three-city quest helmed by veteran film and theatre actor Naseeruddin Shah started in Mumbai at Soho House Mumbai recently. The actor enthralled the select audience with a brilliant reading of Premchand’s masterpiece, ‘Shatranj Ke Khiladi.’ The story uses the game of chess which two redundant courtiers of the Awadh court play, as a metaphor for the way the British used Indian rulers as pawns.


The next two legs of Shah’s tour will be in Gurgaon and Chandigarh on April 24 and 25, respectively.


The reading was followed by a discussion featuring Shah and eminent actor Divya Dutta on the story and then on the complexities and intricacies of playing literary characters on screen and stage. Shah and Dutta discussed some classics of Shah like Junoon, Masoom, Mirch Masala, and plays based on the writings of Ismat Chughtai and Saadat Hasan Manto. Several anecdotes about working with stalwarts like Shyam Benegal and others emerged from the discussion.


Where words of wisdom are shared and spirits are kindred, we begin The Quest at that place. Yesterday this journey began at Soho House Mumbai, where Naseeruddin Shah, one of the most esteemed actors in Indian cinema, enthralled us with a piece of literature and mesmerized the audience by taking them deep into the depths of complexities.


Aberlour The Quest is a platform for the aficionados of all the finer things life has to offer. As seekers delve deeper into time and taste, they encounter complexities that defy easy comprehension. Yet, it is precisely in grappling with these complexities that the true beauty of the quest for knowledge is rewarded.


For it is in the act of probing beneath the surface that we come to appreciate the finest of all things. It was a truly enriching experience to have witnessed the evening of Aberlour The Quest, taking with us the wisdom of exquisite taste passed down the ages.


“Filmy people have one word which is attitude and theatre people have one word which is filmy. It means bad acting. This is a nonsensical belief of theatre that theatre acting has to be done by 10 times larger than life and you have to reach the person in the last row. If you are aiming at the person in the last row, what about the person in the first row, he is going to go deaf. You have to find a technique where everybody receives the same volume of speech and the same emotional content. I can justify this, the first time I watched Dr Shriram Lagoo on the stage, and I can say that he is the greatest actor in the world I’ve seen on the stage in my life. I was sitting on the balcony in the last row and could hear every word he said, his breathing, feeling in his eyes. I didn’t need to go into close-up. It is wrong that at a distance you don’t get what the actor is trying to do. If what he is doing is true you will get it even from the distance which is why you don’t need close-ups,” concluded actor Naseeruddin Shah.

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