Interview: Farooq Sheikh wanted to do that show till his last breath, he became emotional – Firoz Abbas Khan

Ronit Kawale
Ronit Kawale - Senior Editor
5 Min Read

Famous playwright Firoz Abbas Khan, who is the art director of Prithvi Theatre in Mumbai, has done many plays with famous theatre artists like Jennifer Kapoor and Akash Khurana in the 80s. His famous plays include names like 'Tumhari Amrita', 'Salesman Ramlal', 'Mahatma vs Gandhi' and 'Mughal-e-Azam'. But these days he is in the news for his new play 'Letters of Suresh'. In this new play of Firoz Abbas Khan, Veer Hirani, son of famous director Rajkumar Hirani, has made his acting debut. Like 'Letters of Suresh', his famous play 'Tumhari Amrita' was also based on letters. This play started in 1992 and ran for about 20 years.

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Got the chance to act for the first time in Taj Mahal

Reminiscing about 'Tumhari Amrita' and Farooq Sheikh, he says, 'There are many memories of this play from the last two decades, but there is one memory that I have never forgotten. Even today, my heart fills up remembering it. Since this play was short, we never performed it outside. We always played it indoors. But then in 1993, we got a chance to perform it in the quadrangle of the historic Taj Mahal. Before this, no play had got this golden opportunity. When the play started, the sun was above the Taj Mahal and when the second part of the play came, it was a moonlit night. That day, for the first time, 6 thousand people watched this play together.'


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'I would like to do this show till my last breath', Farooq Sheikh cried saying this

He further said, 'It was a cold December evening. The show was a superhit. We were all sitting after the show. Shabana said, 'Farooq, we have grown old now. Now we have to hand over this show to new people.' To this Farooq said, 'No Shabana, we will do this show even while being in a wheel chair. I would like to do this show till my last breath.' While saying this, he became very emotional. For the first time, he asked me for the pictures of the play. You see, this was the last show of 'Tumhari Amrita'. After this, the play could never be shown.'


'There is no possibility of nepotism in theatre'

Firoz Abbas Khan says about his journey in theatre, 'When I did 'Mughal-e-Azam', even then people used to say that you do small plays like 'Tumhari Amrita' and 'Salesman Rampal', then what is this grandeur now, because I also did 'Civilization to Nation', which was even more grand than 'Mughal-e-Azam', so I keep showing different forms of theatre. I do not want to limit myself to any limit. When I did 'Tumhari Amrita', there were two characters in it, Shabana Azmi and Farooq Sheikh, then in 'Kuch Bhi Ho Sakta Hai' I experimented alone with Anupam Kher. I want to do all kinds of plays, but I like small and intimate plays. I keep in mind the goal, acting and audience.

Rajkumar Hirani's son auditioned for 'Letters of Suresh'

I kept the same thing in mind in 'Letters of Suresh'. Its casting also happened very naturally. Director Rajkumar Hirani's son Veer Hirani is in the lead role in it. Veer had contacted me for this play. I did not choose him because he is Raju Hirani's son, I had properly auditioned him for this role. There is no scope for nepotism in theatre. Only deserving people get a chance. He proved to be perfect and while working with him I felt that he is a great actor. Veer has taken a diploma from RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art).

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