When you have the talented trio of stalwarts like Shabana Azmi, Alyque Padamsee and Girish Karnad, you know you’re in for a show that will leave you spellbound. In this most sought-after play Broken Images by Ace Productions, you can feast your eyes on Shabana Azmi, up close and personal this Sunday as director Alyque Padamsee, takes you through the journey of Manjula Sharma and her broken images.
Written by Padma Bhushan and one of the best contemporary playwrights from Bengaluru Girish Karnad, Raell Padamsee’s Ace Productions is a brilliant psychological thriller with two sisters as protagonists, both played by Shabana Azmi.
The many images of these sisters morph into one another. One of the sisters is an intellectually brilliant paraplegic, the other a plodding writer, living under the same roof, dependent on each other, but inhabiting different emotional as well as linguistic worlds — English and Hindi.
Talking about one of the most challenging roles of her career, Padmashri winner Shabana Azmi states, “Playing a double role on stage is quite challenging!
There’s no room for errors! Malini is a pre-recorded image on the TV screen and Manjula is the live character on stage. I had to do Malini in one single shot of 44 minutes and I got it right in the first take! It is a first in my career. The timing is crucial. Also, if I make a mistake while playing Manjula, I have no co-star to rescue me because Malini is a pre-recorded image! It requires fierce concentration.”
The arrangement is fraught with complications not only because the sisters are involved with the same man, but because they respond to life together, and separately, they continually modify the image they have of each other and the world around. Ask Shabana on her experience working with Padmashri winner and the actor who has received accolades from theatre lovers worldwide shares,
“Alyque worked with my mother Shaukat Kaifi 40 years ago and it’s remarkable that he is still going strong. Nothing misses his eye. He directs his actors very closely and helps when you get stuck. He also has a strong sense of the audience’s pulse. I like playing challenging roles and this role is one of the most challenging ones I’ve ever played. The reaction has always been great and I love the fact that I get to see it in person. Some people come and narrate how they empathise with Manjula, while some feel the pathos for Malini!”
The play might leave many theatre audiences with the question ‘What if the most deadly of these images were one’s own shattered self?’ The 21st century is an era of electronic images. From every corner of our daily life images fling themselves at us, arguing, accusing, wheedling, until the very essence of our private existence seems threatened.
Manjula Sharma, a Hindi short-story writer, becomes wealthy and internationally famous by writing a best-seller in English and the question haunting her is, whether in opting for the global audience, has she betrayed her roots. This is followed by an image that decides to play confessor, psychologist and inquisitor.
Talking about the psychological thriller that rips the mask off a celebrity, the actor who has won many awards, adds, “Theatre lovers are going to enjoy watching this psychological thriller as much as I have enjoyed playing the roles of my characters. The characters leave one ruminating about the complexities of human emotions. I’m currently working on a couple of films! Announcements to come soon!”
Broken Images will be staged at Good Shepherd Auditorium on Sunday, November 13, 7.45 PM...