Actor Vivaan Shah is no stranger to theatrical adaptations of classics by Motley, a theatre group co-founded by his father Naseeruddin Shah in 1979. When he was offered an opportunity to read Munshi Premchand’s story ‘Gulli Danda’ in Zee Theatre’s curated anthology of dramatic readings, he was particularly excited and says, “Because of my parents, I have grown up around the very best of sub-continental literature penned by Ismat Chughtai, Manto and so many others. Premchand happens to be a personal favourite and I could not have missed the chance to narrate ‘Gulli Danda’ because it was a dream come true to also be directed by Seema Pahwa ji.”
About the format of dramatic readings, he says, “It is a very interesting concept because here we are immersing ourselves without too many props in the purity and beauty of the prose. As an actor you have to bring to life the nuances of the written word and I have learnt from my parents and from Seema ji that the best way to sharpen your skills as an actor is to communicate the essence of a short story.”
Discussing ‘Gulli Danda’, the story he reads in ‘Koi Baat Chale’, Vivaan Shah says, “It is a story about human relationships and a friendship that is altered by social and economic differences. In a very simple way, Premchand depicts how our humanity and empathy define us and not our status. Seema ji really helped me to bring out the many layers of the story and eased the way whenever I felt stuck. I hope, through ‘Koi Baat Chale’, more and more people will connect with the colorful and varied legacy of Indian literature and go on a journey to discover its richness.”
‘Gulli Danda’ will be aired on Tata Play Theatre and Tata Play Mobile App on 29th January.