Dubai: Actor and host Annu Kapoor hopes historic play promotes harmony

The play featuring Annu Kapoor will take place at the Sheikh Rashid Auditorium tonight


Husain Rizvi

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Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied

Published: Sat 28 May 2022, 2:43 PM

Last updated: Sat 28 May 2022, 4:37 PM

You may remember Annu Kapoor for his appearances in films since the late 80s. The veteran actor has appeared in over 100 films as well as television shows in a career spanning over 40 years. Some of his greatest films in the last decade include Vicky Donor (2012), in which his portrayal of Dr. Baldev Chadha garnered critical acclaim and earned him a Filmfare Award, an IIFA Award, a National Film Award, and a Screen Award, all in the category of Best Supporting Actor.

Annu gave another notable performance in Jolly LLB 2 (2017) alongside Akshay Kumar. He plays the role of a defence lawyer in the legal drama directed by Subhash Kapoor.

Kapoor is currently in Dubai for a play that has taken place over 1500 times. The play, titled Jis Lahore Nai Dekhkya O Jamya Hi Nahi, takes audiences to the era of Indian independence from British rule and the India-Pakistan partition in 1947. The play begins with the story of the Mirza family, who arrive in Lahore from Lucknow, leaving everything behind. As the story unfolds, the family settles in and find themselves accompanied by an old lady, who is also the mother of the owner of the house which is allotted to the Mirza family, and she refuses to leave the house until her son comes back.

“Numerical figures may be important,” Kapoor says in a chat with City Times, “but more important are the values and communal harmony which the theme of the play tries to depict and convey.”

The play portrays the gradual change in the feelings of the characters, conveying the message of humanity, friendship, and respect for other humans. At the same time, it points out how various elements use beliefs to spread hatred.

Its relevance in today’s world? “Even though we have numerous religious beliefs and doctrines to promote and project peace and harmony,” Kapoor says, “human beings have evolved into a bloodthirsty and violent society.”

Kapoor, who has explored various mediums of performing arts such as theatre, cinema, television, and radio, primarily aims to make the audience go through the catharsis. It is Kapoor’s “prime motive” that he hopes to deliver through the play.

When asked about the success behind the play that has been hosted many times across the world, the actor quoted French poet and novelist Victor Hugo. “The brutalities of progress are called revolutions. When they are over, we realise this: that the human race has been roughly handled, but that it has advanced.”

Prominent Hindi writer Asgar Wajahat penned the play, which is organised by Leo Events International. Apart from Kapoor, the play is supported by 18 artists from Pakistan and India who are regular performers in Dubai and on TV channels.

While several directors have helmed the play in the past, this time it is directed by Neha Singh Dube, who also portrays an elderly mother in the play. She first appeared in the play 17 years ago in 2005. “For an actor, being a central character is not important,” Dube says, “but a character where you transform yourself, where your natural character, age, and mannerism is far away from the character you portray. That is acting. That is what I love, so I played this 70-year-old character at my age.”

When asked about her experience with Kapoor, Dube recalls how fortunate she was to have shared a role with the veteran actor in 1993 in Delhi. That led to him agreeing to be a part of this play in 2005. “We are both very passionate about this play,” she says, “and that is the reason I keep producing it and he keeps getting associated with it.”

“Every time, the play comes out much better and the audiences enjoy it,” she adds, promising that today’s play will be a much better version. “Kapoor Ji, who is also my mentor, guide, and inspiration, has been putting a lot of effort into the play. The script, lighting, music, and direction are taking shape under his complete guidance.”

The play will be held tonight from 8.30pm at the Sheikh Rashid Auditorium, Indian High School Dubai. As the play is for invitees only, those interested can contact 050 6342363 or 056 2807249 for invites.

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