Benjamin Gilani believes while the notion of theatre as elitist is natural, artists try to make it as accesible as possible
COMEBACK TIME Benjamin Gilani returns to theatre after 14 years
Benjamin Gilani, with his jet-black dyed hair and stunning looks will turn 60 this month.
This postgraduate and former professor of English Literature at St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, huddling in a monkey-cap borrowed from one of the characters in the play “Antigone” that was recently staged in the city, slips into Hindi every now and then.
“I am returning to the stage after 14 years,” says the actor who has acted in films, TV serials and theatre productions. “I have never seen a more attentive audience and this too after such a long gap.”
“Let the performance speak for itself,” he says of Jean Anouilh’s 1942 adaptation of the 5th century B.C Greek tragedy Sophocles’ “Antigone”.
He is impressively commanding, stately and refined, dressed in loose, flowing robes, playing the role of the narrator in the Satyadev Dubey-directed play.
“This notion of theatre as elitist is natural, but we as artists try to make it as natural as possible.” He continues, “We have done serious theatre like plays by George Bernard Shaw and British comedies like those by Neil Simon. We have also performed Samuel Beckett’s ‘Waiting for Godot’ but haven’t done so for a long time.”
This versatile actor has also acted in television serials and mainstream cinema like “Naam Gum Jayega” about two girls from different religious communities, switched accidentally at birth and the historic “Aamrapali” set in 600 B.C about a woman who is made to entertain men of the king’s court.
Benjamin has recently performed for Akash Khurana’s “A Special Bond” based on the short stories of Ruskin Bond. “I am also acting in a movie called ‘Sawaal’ about visually handicapped children.” Apart from that there is a Nagesh Kukunoor film.
“I also am a visiting TV professor at Subhash Ghai’s Whistling Woods Film Institute.”
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