The Motley Productions of Naseeruddin Shah are set to stage Riding madly off in all Directions at Ductac. It starring beside the legendary actor, his wife Ratna Pathak Shah, and children Vivaan, Heeba, and Imaad. It will be the first time that whole family will perform collectively on stage in Dubai. This play impersonates the work of Stephan Leacock, the Canadian humorist. The set of five short stories are a satirical and humorous take on the everyday, mundane happenings, quickly moulded into classifying plots, and at times dark, intended to make one smile, not laugh. We had a chat with the whole family, and it was a lovely roller coaster ride to talk to all five of them.
How diverse is to work with family than a group of other actors? Naseeruddin Shah: It’s very comfortable first of all as they are all open for practices at home. I try to be little less hard with them than I am with my students because there is also a personal relationship involved assuredly. I don’t ease up on them, but I have to be a little bit gentle. With the students, it’s slightly different. I would say that I am persistent on getting it right. Yelling at a student is different to yelling at your child because if you yell at your child, it evokes a whole lot of other things.
Whereas a student takes it in the spirit, he thought. I don’t think I have been unmerciful with my kids. I am determined with them like I am because I want them to live up to their possible. Actors, in general, are pretty slow species.
Naseeruddin Shah With Whole Family In Riding Madly Off
Vivaan: Now everyone is fine, if he gets angry, he shouts at you. It’s better because there is honesty in that. He is also a fan of Stephen. His method is very different, he dramatises prose and turns them into play. PG Wodehouse fans would enjoy the show.
Ratna: Despite all of us have worked in Motley before but never five of us together. It was an enjoyable experience and great fun, but we also had a lot of heartburn. That’s necessary when five people with strong opinions and loud voices get collectively for two months. That friction helps because we trust Naseer’s decision as an actor and a director. These stories appear simple, but they are hard to stage because we had to find a form for these fleeting humorous moments that we created so magically.
Imaad: I don’t remember he is very gentle with his family. He only understands how to work with honesty. He can’t cloud what he senses. He is always brutally honest with us because that’s the betterment for the larger piece. It’s his ability to look at the play from the bird’s point of view.
Heeba: He made us read again and again till it has become one with our body. He maintains that we shouldn’t learn it by heart. He requires us to know the story instead of remembering it. As a director, he is very hard, and he is honest and cruel about it. He tells you that what you are doing is terrible. He says why he is shouting at you. He doesn’t accept mediocre acting. Riding Madly off in all Directions will be presented at DUCTAC on January 20 at 5.