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|May 18, 1999||
Jaya, Ramesh Talwar Ready To Face Live Audiences In India
R S Shankar
"I think he was puzzled by my thick moustache, he could not recognize me for a second or two," says the movie and stage director. "Then I knew the moustache would do the right work."
Director of half a dozen films (including Doosra Aadmi), Talwar says he grew a moustache to make his part in the Hindi play, Maa Retire Hoti Hai, an adaptation of the hugely popular Gujarati play Ba Retire Thai Che, authentic.
"Many people say I have a baby face, and though I am far from being young, I had to have a look of authority in this play," he explains. Apart from directing Ma... he also played Jaya Bachchan's husband. The hit play, which premiered in America in April and has played to standing-room only audiences in over 10 cities, has engagements throughout this month.
Jaya Bachchan was the main attraction.
"With this play, one can certainly say a wonderful stage artiste is born," Talwar says. "It was not an easy decision for her to take (to be in a play) but once she decided she would take the challenge, she gave everything she has in her to this play."
One of the reasons Bachchan was taken up by the idea of leading the cast was the play's "progressive" nature, he says. It upholds women's rights to get involved in activities beyond the confines of their homes. "It raises questions like how much should a mother or a grandmother be involved in her home, with her children and grandchildren," he continues. "What if she wants to spend more time for social work?"
He says the play struck a chord among NRIs because "here in America too, people ask a lot of questions about older people, about parents and grandparents." Naturally, he says, he was not surprised when he saw many teenagers who knew little Hindi or not all and who had to seek continual explanations from their parents.
Talwar, who has directed some of Bollywood's best artistes including Raakhee Gulzar, says now that the play has tested the waters in America, it is natural it will be staged in India.
On Broadway, he has rightly heard, many plays or musicals open after they have had try-outs in other cities. "So you may say that we were trying-out this play in America, fine-tuning it and now we are ready to face audiences in India." NRIs, always hungry for live entertainment from India, are prone to be "more tolerant," he says, adding that Indian audiences could have demanded too much. "Now we are ready to face any tough critic," he says. "If we fail after these efforts, we cannot do anything about it."
"We are getting a lot of requests from the Middle East and England," he says. "If we can firm up the dates, we would love to perform before audiences in other countries too." He is not sure if he will be available to perform because he is discussion with a Detroit-based businessman to direct a multi-star film to be shot in India and the United States. "I will be returning to the big screen after several years." His last film, Sahibaan, starring Rishi Kapoor and Sanjay Dutt was a box-office miss.
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