The world of theatre is an enigmatic one, full of surprises, emotions, and wonder. But every once in a while, a play comes along that leaves the audience in awe, breathless and touched. That is what happened on the 10th and 11th of April 2023, when the Nita Mukesh Ambani Cultural Centre (NMACC) hosted an immersive play reading of the life of legendary poet Kaifi Azmi and his wife Shaukat Kaifi.
The play, written by the masterful Javed Akhtar, was brought to life by the veteran actors Shabana Azmi and Kanwaljit Singh, who narrated the many stories of Kaifi Saab’s life, from his early years in Mijwan to his time in Bombay in the 1950s. But this was not just any play reading. The experience was elevated by the mesmerizing voice of Jaswinder Singh, who sang classics written by the lyricist, accompanied by a live orchestra. The set, designed by M.S. Sathyu, was a feast for the eyes and the music, composed by Kuldip Singh, was a delight to the ears.
The audience was left spellbound by the performance, with many saying that it was a rich and wholesome experience that brought tears to their eyes. The audio and the music added an extra dimension to the already immersive experience, taking it to another level. And the venue, NMACC, was praised for providing a space where cultural experiences could be had in a way that was sorely lacking in the city.
But the true stars of the show were undoubtedly Shabana Azmi and Kanwaljit Singh. Their performances were electric, full of emotion and depth, and left the audience in awe of their talent. They were the dynamic duo that made the play come alive and transported the audience to another era, where they could understand Kaifi Azmi’s life, struggles, romance, passion, and commitment.
It was clear that the play was a labor of love, a tribute to a poet who had left an indelible mark on Indian literature and to his wife, who had been his companion, confidante, and muse. But, it was a true showcase of the potential of immersive theatre to transport the audience to another time and place, evoking powerful emotions and leaving a lasting impact.