Coming together of veterans

Coming together of veterans


Somewhere down the line, theatre has become an intellectual playground. People have forgotten that it was and still is a medium of entertainment.
Maybe that’s why the driving forces of Motley, a Mumbai-based theatre troupe enjoy performing for children, because according to them, the kids still take plays on the face value. “You must not try and understand a play. You must not try to react to it, but just respond to it. It’s like being in the sea. When you fight against the waves, you get tired. But when you let go, you enjoy it,” says Naseeruddin Shah, who was in the City to perform Waiting For Godot along with fellow Motley founders, Akash Khurana and Benjamin Gilani.

With an attempt to take dramas out of the classroom and onto the stage, the trio, has performed the play for over three decades. “It’s an epic we discovered a long time ago during the shoot of Junoon,” says Benjamin Gilani, the director. He adds, “This is one play we can say we have grown up with. We have revived it and learnt to live with it and still explore it.”

Today after 120 shows, they still have enough and more material to chew on. The production has definitely grown over time. People have come and gone, actors have exchanged roles and brought in different versions, but one thing that has not changed is their interpretation of the play.
“I remember watching the play sitting in the front row as an audience. I knew I wanted to be a part of this and till today, I have played two different roles in the same play. Sometimes, when I am backstage and hear Naseer delivering what used to be my lines, I can’t help but listen,” says Akash Khurana.

The fact that the play has received a tremendous response all these years reflects a lot on the friendship they have shared as well. Ask them about the chemistry they share off stage and they burst into laughter. “Oh we fight and bicker all the time. We hate each other,” jokes Naseeruddin, while on a more serious note Benjamin adds, “I think its the honesty and the freedom we give each other that has made this work so long. And ultimately, that is what has reflected on our work as well.”
After all these years and many productions in their stride, ask them what is the future of ‘Motley’ and they say, “It will soon meet its true love.”

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