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Laudable effort

Heeba Shah gives a high-five to the budding actors of youth theatre

Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

Quiet and unassuming Heeba Shah caught in a casual moment

It is difficult to spot Heeba Shah sitting amidst a group of college-goers at Makestar auditorium in Osmania University. In a maroon salwar kurta, this young actor is here as a guest of honour at the Aurora Degree and PG College’s two-day national inter-college theatre festival, which concluded on Friday. A quiet and unassuming Heeba breaks into an occasional round of applause as she cheers the youngsters performing on stage. She is justifiably overwhelmed. “All those who feel theatre has lost its touch with youngsters are sure to feel disappointed after watching these amazing young performers. A range of sensitive, complex and burning issues have been tackled by these boys and girls with aplomb. The young crowd in the audience adds to the excitement,” she says softly.

For Heeba, watching these productions has paved way for limitless possibilities. “Acting gives me a high. But, being on the other side of the stage and watch someone else perform also has its plus points. It gives an insight into others’ lives, their thoughts and expressions. I also wonder as to how I would have enacted the role,” she makes a point. Theatre has a therapeutic experience, she feels. “I was a very shy kid but once I started to do plays I opened up and was surprised to know that I could even sing.”

She has some happy memories at the drama school. However, playing Alba in the House of Bernada was tough. Elaborates she, “I was playing the mother, who is a negative character. But I couldn’t comprehend the bad things she was doing and justify it towards her family. But it did help me to make mistakes and learn from it.”

The Mango Souffle actress loves coming to Hyderabad. (She was in the city last for the play Ismat Aapa ke Naam with Ratna Pathak Shah and father Naseeruddin Shah) “People here are humble and polite. Another quality which I admire among Hyderabadis, is that they do not make a big show of themselves. They always let their work speak,” she says. She loves to watch cartoon shows and her favourites include Kalvin and Gunny, the Poo. Besides a few plays, she will be soon seen in RS Vikal’s new film Dhadhak.

We hear there’s also a singer in her. “I love to sing and who knows you might see me sing in one of my films,” she seals off with a smile.

NEERAJA MURTHY

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