May 29, 2011

A conversation with Mahesh Bhatt

This evening, I went for a play titled 'The Last Salute' on the Iraq War, George Bush's administration, and Muntadhar al-Zaidi's act of throwing his shoe at the President. It was produced by Mahesh Bhatt and directed by Arvind Gaur with my mother and her friend today. Before going, I called up my boss at Indian Express and asked if I ought to cover the play and he said I should. I watched the play intently, took down running notes, and after it got over, I went to the director and cast to take quotes. I also approached Mahesh Bhatt. This was the conversation:

R: Sir, I'm Rohini from Indian Express and I wanted to ask you a question or two. Are you free?

MB: Go ahead. Wait, you're saying you're from Indian Express? Are you kidding me? You look like a school girl.

R: Yes I am. I'm interning with them. I don't look like a school girl! Sir, since you are a filmmaker, why not take the tried and test platform of film and instead, use the stage to convey the realities of the Iraq war and the shoe throwing incident?

MB: Well, cinema is an illusion-manufacturing business. They sell pain killers and put you to sleep and take you away from the reality. This is a play that wakes you up to reality. Besides, Bollywood worships a new deity these days-the Oscars. If you eye that deity, you cannot speak up against the land of that deity-the USA in a film or they'd ostracize you. Hence, the stage.

R: All right, thank you, Sir. Can I have your autograph, please?

MB:  (He signs on my play ticket) Sorry my handwriting isn't too good since there's nothing to keep the book on and write. (sees my handwriting behind that) Oh, neither is yours. I don't feel so bad now. (I'm just standing and laughing. It's not the first time I've heard this about my handwriting!)

R: Uh, Sir, in case this quote doesn't work, can I have an email address or something to ask you for another one?

MB: Sure. (gives it to me)

R: Sir, what assurance do I have that you'll reply?

MB: (shows me his three phones) I carry three phones with me. Be rest assured that I will reply almost immediately. Take care, Rohini. (smiles and walks away)

Quite a different end to a play than what I thought it would be.
Quite a different end to a day than what I thought it would be.


Hitesh - Book Readers Lounge said...

interesting!! ur one lucky school girl!! (no pun intended)

Cave Man said...


you should ve lured in to talking about Krishnamurthy. Your dinner or dinners would ve been taken care of.


Anonymous said...

:) Nice interview..

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post..never knew he is someone so humble, so humble that you in all the innocence of your questions almost sounded arrogant..nevertheless good questions and i wished you asked more..cheers.