The young voices of theatre

The young voices of theatre

Thinking alike

The young voices of theatre

They belong to what can probably be called as ‘the first family of theatre’. Heeba and Imaad Shah have inherited the powerful acting skills of their parents, Naseeruddin Shah and Ratna Pathak Shah. In the City recently to act in the play, Manto Ismat Hazir Hain, the duo chatted with Metrolife.

Dedicated: Heeba Shah“I have been visiting Bangalore,” says Heeba. “It is a nice City and the people are really into theatre. Despite not being fluent in Urdu, they still understand the nuances of the language.” Imaad loves the culture of Bangalore too. “The theatre scene is extremely happening here,” he says.

Speaking of Manto Ismat Hazir Hain, Imaad says, “It’s a collection of stories written by two authors — Ismat Chughtai and Saadat Hasan Manto; two writers who were accused of being obscene by the society of their times,” says Imaad while Heeba adds, “interestingly, both of them were tried at the same time in Lahore.” While Naseeruddin has directed the play, Ratna has designed the costumes. “My parents have made me understand that art cannot be learnt fully,” says Heeba. “For instance, one can’t say that ‘I’ve won a National Award so I know everything about acting’. Art constantly evolves.” For Imaad, his parents have been a constant source of encouragement. “I have learnt the benefits of concentration from them. They have stuck to one thing for life, and have done it well,” he notes.

They have many favourites when it comes to their parents’ works, but a common favourite of the two is Naseer’s performance in Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon Aata Hai. “No one has the print of that film till date,” reveals Heeba. She liked Ratna’s performance in the play Antigone. While Imaad says, “I liked mom’s performance in the play Ismat Aapa Ke Naam.”

Focussed: Imaad ShahBoth have acted in unconventional films. Imaad was seen in critically-acclaimed movies like Yun Hota To Kya Hota and Little Zizou, while Heeba preferred to work in low-budget films like Mango Souffle. Will they ever act in commercial films? “I am sure I will if a good offer comes,” says Heeba. “But I don’t understand why do people categorise cinema in terms of art and mainstream. It’s either good or bad cinema,” she laughs. Imaad feels, “It’s important to do films on the basis of personal choice.”

Imaad has one project lined for release while Heeba is awaiting the releases of PSC and Dhadak. She was also seen as the young Dadisa in Balika Vadhu. “Surekha Sikri, who plays the role of Dadisa, is my aunt and they wanted someone who looks like her. It was fun and I shot for a few episodes. But I don’t want to do a lot of television as I don’t get time for theatre.” However, she would love to host a travel show in future.

So being from a family of theatre and films, do their conversations at home revolve only about acting? “Nothing like that,” denies Imaad. “Of course, at times we do speak about acting, but otherwise, it’s about things like cricket,” he laughs.

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