BWW Interview: RANDHIR ROY, DIRECTOR OF EK HAAN on why Manto is relevant today
We catch theatre director Randhir Ranjan Roy at a time when he is both busy and elated as his latest theatre offering Ek Haan is running to housefuls in Mumbai.
On an evening, when his big show at the Royal Opera House in Mumbai is to be staged and has already being sold out, Roy says he is not unaware of his responsibility that comes with giving a stellar show, variously praised by critics and connoisseurs.
Manto's latest play brings legendary writer Saadat Hasan Manto's two stories to life. Roy a dedicated director took about a year to write the script for his ambitious play. He says, "Yes, I took that long because I knew the script was a responsible project to undertake. So many people have interpreted and showcased Manto but I did not want to just do what has been done before. It was important that I show an aspect that had not been shown before."
On casting a solid characterization of Shekhar Suman and Suchitra Krishnamoorthi he says, "After the first show, many people asked me about how I chose Suman, a seasoned actor who does perfect justice to the role. But I think I was so sure about Suman that when I began writing the script, I approached him and told him that this is what I was wanting to write. I told him back then, that if you say yes, I would go ahead with the project else i would not write it only. this is how much I was convinced about him playing the role." Today, its not just Roy, but the audience too who agree that perhaps no one could have played Manto better than Suman.
On whether Roy was sceptical about showing the story of the legendary writer who moved to Pakistan post the partition, especially during these times when the animosity between the two nations is at a peak. Roy says, "I guess this is just the right and important time for people to know the story and see for themselves how connected we all may be. I recall there is a dialogue in the play by Manto that says, "Bantwara Karne waley humsey bhi bade paagal they, (those who opted for the partition of the two countries were crazier than us) and the audience couldn't help but clap endlessly on this. This is important because the right should be presented as right. And not a biased or a distorted version.
Today look at the state of the world, even India, where the common theme seems to be if you are with the government who are right, if you question, then you are wrong. We need to see the narratives in right light."
on his future projects, Roy says, "Yes, we are planning something big, with important star cast. But currently the success of Ek Haan keeps us busy. We plan to take it across India because it is a story that must be told.