Naseer’s First Love

By now, it is a well-established fact in the theatre world that nothing stirs Naseeruddin Shah more than intense writing. Samuel Beckett's First Love is the latest piece of literature to have that effect on him. After two months of dissecting the novella, which though written in 1946 got published only in 1973, Shah will create a stage adaptation for the annual theatre festival of National Centre for Performing Arts, Mumbai. This 75-minute-long solo act is directed and enacted by Shah and will premiere on December 16. First Love contains much of Beckett's distinctive black humour and a plot that is regarded as a masterpiece of Beckettian perversity. A man, expelled from the family home, takes refuge on a bench by a canal. There he meets a woman who takes him home, with comically disastrous consequences. Shah's love for words was, perhaps, triggered during his association with the late theatre legend Satyadev Dubey. He has earlier dramatised the writings of Ismat Chughtai and Sadat Husain Manto and revisited George Bernard Shaw last year.

Stage Poetry

Bol ke lab azaad hain tere/ Bol zubaan ab tak teri hai. It was in the year 1936 that Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz penned this famous nazm criticising social exploitation and all things British in undivided Hindustan. The nazm fanned the rising tide of the Independence struggle and was sung by noted singers. The life and times of Faiz and his works will be the focus of a 90-minute play titled Bol Ke Lab Azad Hain Tere, which will be staged on day three of the five-day Modern Theatre Festival that will take place at Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra, Delhi, from December 10.

Written by Parvez Ahmad, the play has been directed by Lokendra Trivedi. Other productions that will be staged at the festival include Aurangzeb by KS Chandran that will focus on the triumphs and isolation of the Emperor, and Jivito Mrito based on a story by Rabindranath Tagore that describes the life of a widow and her struggle for acceptance in the society. The festival will conclude with Shayar Shutter Down directed by Tripurari Sharma.

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