Interview with Shifalli Shah

Renowned filmmaker Vipul Shah, who returns to theatre after 14 years, has produced a new play BUS ITNA SA KHWAB…which is based on Prashant Dalvi’s original Marathi play DHYANMANI. It features his wife Shifalli Shah in a leading role. Shifalli, who has made a distinct mark for herself in television and films speaks about the play, and her comeback to the Theatre.

You have made a successful name for yourself in Television and Films. Are you hoping for the same in Theatre too?
If I’m good in the play, I will be appreciated. That is how it is for any role, be it in any medium.

Tell us a little about your previous experience in the Theatre?
I started my career in Acting on the stage. I did about four to five Gujarati plays with very established names in Gujarati Theatre. Some of these plays ran for as many as 300 to 500 shows. So I can comfortably say that this is not my first time. But I return to the stage after 10 years.

Why BUS ITNA SA KHWAB…and not some other play?
When Vipul and I decided to come back to the Theatre, this was the only play we thought of unanimously. This has been an important play in Marathi Theatre, and it has one of the most challenging and incredible roles that any actress can play.

Both Vipul Shah and you have established your own independent identities in the media. Yet do you feel that your comeback to the Theatre seemed more reassuring because this is a home production?
I would have done this role irrespective of who would have produced the play. But yes, it is reassuring to know that I am working with a producer who is extremely easy to work with. A producer, who has a very good production house, and a man of sensibility who respects his director and actors. Even if Vipul wasn’t my husband, and had offered me this play and role, I would have agreed to do it.

Was it easy for you to take to the stage after such a long time?
It wasn’t easy. It never is easy. Every show is like your first and the last show in a way, and theatre is far more challenging than television or film. So I am always nervous, tense and anxious before going on to the stage.

What is the one thing special about this play that got your interest?
Like I said earlier that this is a landmark play with an absolutely great role for an actress. To top that Chandrakant Kulkarni is a very insightful director, who has made me push my limits. I just had to do it.

What kind of future do you see for this production?
I don’t think of the future. I don’t plan it. I don’t do things because they are going to repay in the future. I do it because it is enriching for the moment. The entire process of rehearsing this play has been rewarding. Each show will be special whether it is the tenth, thirtieth or the hundreth. This is a special play with intense characters and a universal theme. I don’t see why it won’t appeal to the audience.

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