The Hindu: Saif Hyder Hasan talks about introducing Minissha Lamba to Theatre

10th September 2018

Known for casting film actors in his lush productions, writer-director Saif Hyder Hasan talks about launching Minissha Lamba to stage with Mirror Mirror

“Every night I think of a new story,” muses Saif Hyder Hasan, the prolific writer-director who has given a new lease of life to Indian commercial theatre with popular plays such as Ek Mulaqat, Gardish Main Hain Taare and Mr and Mrs Mungerilal. “Usually,I forget it by morning, but if it stays with me for two-three months, then I start writing. There are so many things happening around us, what sticks, makes it to the stage.”

This weekend he is trying something new with an English solo, Mirror Mirror that marks the entry of actor Minissha Lamba on stage. The original story about sibling rivalry has been with him for quite sometime now.

He says – “In 2011, I mounted it in Hindi with Shweta Tiwari in the lead role. I want to give my audience good value for money. There should be a gripping storyline backed by good lighting, sets and music. And a popular actor who can pull audience to the theatre. The package should be very interesting.” Perhaps, this is the new definition of commercial theatre. “I don’t know what commercial theatre is? If I am paying ₹75000 as the rent for an auditorium, who is going to recover this money? Gone are the days when we staged plays at Shri Ram Centre’s basement by booking it for ₹1200 rupees. It used to take ₹25000 to mount a production. Now it requires a sum in multiplication of six figures. The way things are, everything has become commercial.” And that demands an actor, who can attract people to ticket window? “Yes, an actor who has some following. What’s wrong in it? You are getting a bigger crowd and in the process you are converting more people to theatre.” Many feel it is a compromise, for there was a time when theatre used to guide the market. Now it is the other way round. “When you are very honest to your art form, you are not compromising. Ek Mulaqat isnot a compromise.And I feel Mirror Mirror will also live up to the expectations.”

(Produced by AGP World, “Mirror Mirror” will be staged this Saturday at Kamani Auditorium, 8 p.m.)

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