His glory days in tinseltown may have long been over. But Shashi Kapoor still doesn’t flinch when it comes to making the odd public appearance — on paper, at least. Only last week, Kapoor — otherwise known to lead a rather reclusive life — put his signature on a letter drafted by wildlife experts, urging the Prime Minister to take immediate action in formulating policies for the sake of the endangered Royal Bengal Tiger. And the grand old actor was not the only one to lend his name to the petition sent to the PM on the occasion of World Environment Day on June 5. Among the other well-known signatories were actor Sanjana Kapoor, writer Pradip Krishen, anchor Karan Thapar, historian Romila Thapar and nature-lover Romulus Whitaker. Kapoor’s fondness for the tiger may or may not be linked to son-in-law Valmik Thapar’s passion for the big cat. What’s clear, though, is that stars and stripes go well together.
There’s a whole world within Tagore, and theatre director Koushik Sen is on a voyage. He has just staged Tagore’s Dak ghar (Post Office) — complete with the old text, but suitably adapted. “I have not changed a single sentence from the original play, but there is a contemporary feel to the way the characters interact with one another. Our speech patterns and mannerisms change with time, and I have tried to incorporate these in the adaptation,” says Sen. Sen also included two poems by Sankha Ghosh in the play staged earlier this week. “For long, people have followed the convention of not innovating with Tagore’s plays, but it doesn’t mean that they cannot be worked on. I have tried to be different,” he says. The poet — a believer in free spirit — would have approved.
Tagore, clearly, is the flavour of the season. Afghan director Atiq Rahimi is all set to shoot Tagore’s Kabuliwala and has even discussed the music with lyricist-composer Gulzar. Rahimi, who won considerable acclaim for his first film based on his own novel Earth and Ashes, says he has read Tagore’s story and seen both the Hindi and Bengali versions of the film. And now the director is deciding on his cast. The film may just work out into a global platform for Tagore, for let’s not forget that Rahimi’s debut film, Khakestar--khak, was Afghanistan’s official choice for the 2004 Oscar awards in the foreign language film category. It’s to be seen if Tagore, who won the Nobel Prize nearly 95 years ago, gets associated with an Oscar more than six decades years after his death.
Kat with no cream
Poor Katrina Kaif. The actress who is known more as bad boy Salman Khan’s girlfriend than for her acting skills has allegedly been instructed by her beau not to talk to John Abraham. No, it’s not because he suspects anything between the two. It’s just that Salman has fallen out with John — allegedly because the Iranian-Malayalee grabbed more fan attention during an event — and his logic is that if he is not talking to someone, his girlfriend should not be either. For Katrina, this has serious implications — for she can’t sign a film with John either. So far this has seen her having to turn down two films opposite John — UTV produced Rockstarand the T-series film, Chandramukhi. What’s worse is that the list of people Salman can’t get along with is almost the size of a telephone directory. At the end of the day, there will be virtually no hero left for Katrina. As we said, poor Katrina.
Irrfan Khan may be just what the cinema critics ordered, but the much-feted actor is now looking at the world outside films. Khan, who studied theatre at the National School of Drama in New Delhi, wants to go back to his first love — plays. In Delhi recently, Khan met an old friend, who runs a theatre group, and urged him to direct a play for him. The friend is still to give him an answer, but Khan is clearly not the one to give up. After all, as all theatre lovers know, when the stage beckons, the silver screen fades into the background.