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Global screen’s the stage for theatre guru

Jamshedpur born and Mumbai based theatre thespian Neeraj Kabi is making waves on the big screen.

Wasseypur man Anurag Kashyap has offered him a leading role in Monsoon Shootout, a film to be directed by critically acclaimed Amit Kumar.

Kabi has more reasons to smile. Director Shekhar Kapur (Elisabeth, Bandit Queen) declared he was a fan of the film Ship of Theseus, where Kabi has a stellar role.

The film won raves during its Indian premiere on Wednesday at the 14th Mumbai Film Festival as the only Indian film in the international competition category.

Directed by debutante Anand Gandhi, it enjoyed a big-ticket world premiere at Toronto International Film festival in Ontario (September 6-16) and earned a special mention from Sutherland award jury (from October 10-21) at the British Film Institute’s London Film Festival.

Talking to The Telegraph over phone from Mumbai, Kabi (44), a Loyola School alumnus, said while theatre remained his first love, he was happy with his big screen successes.

“Anurag Kashyap, who is producing Monsoon Shootout, and Shekhar Kapur both said Ship of Theseus was one of most brilliant films of the last decade. My role of an ailing monk has been widely appreciated in the festival circuit. It is also going to Tokyo film festival,” said an elated Kabi.

Explaining the meaning of the name, he said: “As planks of Athens king Theseus’ ship needed repair, they were replaced part by part, up to a point where not a single item from the original ship remained. Is it, then, still the same ship? The film explores this question by substituting planks with organ donation.”

On other cinematic ventures, Kabi mentioned a key role opposite Hollywood’s Harvey Keitel in Kranti Kanade’s film Gandhi of the Month.

Kabi, who founded Mumbai’s Pravah Theatre Laboratory, went on to become a name in the Mumbai theatre circuit. Unfazed by success, Kabi still says he would rather focus on his craft

Does he take a hometown break? “Yes, it’s long overdue. I am planning to visit in February 2013,” he chuckled, referring to his Sakchi-based parents Tushar Kanti and Sunita.