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Aamir Khan spends an evening at Adishakti, reliving his theatre days

The Bollywood star has a long association with the performing arts institution, says its artistic director Vinay Kumar

Aamir Khan spends an evening at Adishakti, reliving his theatre days
Aamir Khan at Adishakti with Vinay Kumar, Nimmy Raphel and the team
  • Reema Gowalla

Last Updated: 04.51 AM, Jan 11, 2023

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After devoting 35 years of his life to films, Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan is currently taking some time off, and he seems to be making the most of it. Sporting an all-grey look, the Laal Singh Chaddha actor recently spent an evening of stories, conversations and laughter amid the serene and creative environs of Adishakti - Laboratory For Theatre Art Research, near Puducherry. The actor turned nostalgic as he took a trip down memory lane, remembering his theatre days in Mumbai in the 1980s.

“Adishakti’s association with Aamir goes back to the ’80s, when the Mumbai theatre scene used to revolve around new and old plays at Prithvi Theatre. It was quite the experience to have him among us today again, more so because he has also worked with our founder and guru Veenapani Chawla during his early days. The other day, he was in the neighbourhood to meet a friend, and he paid a visit to Adishakti. He sat down surrounded by people, sharing multiple stories and some fond memories from his time before making his Bollywood debut. It was like a moment in time warp. Our conversations began at seven in the evening and went on until four the next morning. He even had dinner with us,” says Vinay Kumar, the Artistic director of Adishakti. 

The distinguished performing arts institution was founded by Sangeet Natak Akademi awardee Veenapani, who is hailed for her contribution to experimental theatre in contemporary India. Among Adishakti’s most prominent plays are Ganapati, Brhannala and Bhoomi.   

Aamir Khan with the team of Adishakti
Aamir Khan with the team of Adishakti

Before Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak gave his career a completely different turn in 1988, Aamir had made his theatre debut with a Gujarati play, titled Kesar Bina, which was staged at Prithvi Theatre. “During that evening at Adishakti, Aamir spoke about how he began his career with Gujarati theatre. He used to do backstage work for theatre veteran Mahendra Joshi’s group, called Avantar. Aamir told stories about his association with director-screenwriter and his childhood friend Aditya Bhattacharya, who had helmed his National Award-winning 1989 film Raakh. Overall, it was an evening of many conversations, mostly about theatre and a little about films,” Vinay adds. 

So, is the PK star planning a comeback to the stage? “We would hope so. Whether or not he returns to the stage, it was nice to know that even after spending decades in movies, his love for theatre remains intact. That he sat down and engaged in theatre conversations with us for so long shows that he definitely soaked in the creative energies at Adishakti,” he elaborates.

In November 2022, Aamir announced that he wanted to take a break, possibly for a year and a half. His latest film Laal Singh Chaddha is a ‘purported’ remake of the 1994 Hollywood classic Forrest Gump. Also starring Kareena Kapoor Khan, the much-awaited film however couldn’t perform well at the box office, thanks to the ‘cancel culture’.

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