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Interview: Mahesh Bhatt on his Debut as a Stage Artist with “The Last Salute”, the Spirit of Kolkata, Daughter Alia’s Career and More; Sholoana Bangaliana Exclusive


He was in the city for his debut performance on stage at the Odeum Festival 2016. Sholoana Bangaliana correspondent caught up with veteran director Mahesh Bhatt at Science City auditorium before he headed to attend musician Ghulam Ali’s concert. Excerpts from the conversation..

Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana- Welcome to the city of Kolkata, yet again for your debut stage performance!!

Mahesh Bhatt- Thank you!! Yes it is true that I have indeed been coming to the city quite a lot these days. You may be amazed to hear that Kolkata is high on the list of cities which I am frequenting too much in recent times. There is something about the city which pulls me to it.

The Last Salute marks your debut on stage. What took you such a long time to make this decision?

Mahesh Bhatt- To tell you the truth, I never ever had the slightest inclination to head towards theatre. However, mediocrity and conformity are the two elements which took the soul from Indian cinema away. It was at this juncture that “The Last Salute” happened. It was a good thing that happened to me. Better late than never and here I am with my debut stage performance.

Since you are making your debut with this play, can you throw some light about the play?

Mahesh Bhatt- This in an age of globalization!! When one part of the world is affected, it is bound to have an impact on the other parts of the world. The contemporary value of the story based on the event of the shoe thrown at President George W Bush made me select this story. This is based on the book by the same name written by Muntadhar al-Zaidi.


Since you are making your debut with this play, can we expect you to direct and write plays in the future?

Mahesh Bhatt- No, that will not be the case simply because I do not think I possess the skills required for writing or directing plays. Watching plays is all right for me, though I don’t watch much plays. Appreciating it is possible but diving straight into the direction or writing of the plays is not my cup of tea.

Have you watched any Bengali play?

Mahesh Bhatt- As I said before, I have not watched much plays before. Sadly, I have not watched any Bengali plays, though I have heard that they are extremely good. I have just watched some Marathi and Hindi plays.

After having worked in both theatre and cinema, how do you differentiate between these two mediums?

Mahesh Bhatt- The trouble in today’s times is we seek for acceptance. Going against the tide, is not what many people are willing to do. As a result, cinema which is a mass medium is always treading on the path of acceptance and gives in to the wishes of the majority. On the other hand, if you take theatre, it raises its voice for the marginalized. In today’s time theatre can become an important medium for protesting against anything.

What are your views about the Odeum Festival 2016?

Mahesh Bhatt- This is indeed a great initiative. One can celebrate the diversity of the country with such festivals. The fact that youths are connected with this festival will give the festival a new lease of energy.

You will be attending music maestro Ghulam Ali’s concert. After what happened in Mumbai, how do you feel about this decision taken up the West Bengal CM?

Mahesh Bhatt– Kudos to CM Mamata Banerjee for actually keeping politics away from art!! What happened to Ghulam Ali in Mumbai is very shameful and should not have happened to him. He is a senior colleague and an artist of world stature. Not letting him perform in Mumbai was insulting him. I felt small because we live in the country where Gandhi ji, Swami Vivekananda lived. We preach Ahimsa, tolerance and yet not letting an artist perform was something that could have been avoided. The West Bengal CM has shown “himmat” in asking the music maestro to come and perform in the city. I just cannot wait to go and see him perform. However, we are film makers and we believe in happy endings. Ghulam Ali’s coming to Kolkata is the happy ending that we have been seeking.

Your daughter Alia is doing quite good with her films. Are you happy with the way her acting career is shaping up?

Mahesh Bhatt- Well she has done quite good so far!! However, I feel that she can do much better. Maybe, I expect more from her as a father. But I simply cannot go ga-ga about what she has done till now. She is doing good but she has much more to achieve.

We hear that you are a possessive father. Is that true?

Mahesh Bhatt- (laughs out loud) Yes I am!!

Since Mahesh Bhatt was in a hurry to go to the Ghulam Ali concert, the conversation had to end. However his parting words were “Celebrate Culture, Celebrate Bengal and Make Us a Part of It”.



Priyanka Dutta takes a keen interest in lifestyle and entertainment related news. She also enjoys interviewing celebrities and other renowned personalities. Priyanka holds a post graduate degree in English and Mass Communication. Journalism is her passion and she has reported for many a reputed international web portals.

Hot and Sizzling Flora Saini in Nagesh Kukunoor’s next ‘Dhanak’


Flora Saini who showcased her acting potentials in the previous film by Nagesh Kukunoor titled Lakshmi will be again seen in the director’s upcoming film Dhanak. Flora Saini received great critical appraise for her performance in Lakshmi and in the upcoming film by Kukunoor, she will be seen essaying out the character of a rural Rajasthani woman.

The director was highly impressed with her acting skills in the film Lakshmi. This is the reason why he thought and decided to cast her in his next directorial venture as well. The story of Dhanak is about two children who meet a superstar. One of the children is visually challenged. The word Dhanak means rainbow in Rajasthani language. It is reportedly a remake of the Iranian film Besak.

The character played by Flora in the film is that of a tribal woman who robs unsuspecting people on the highway. Despite robbing the people, she harbors an emotional feeling for the children.

Just like the other films by director Nagesh Kukunoor, this film is also multi-layered. The main message that the director wants to give out through this film is that one must derive pleasure from the little things in life.

With a track record of some highly creative works, Kukunoor is sure to make a mark with his upcoming Bollwood film Dhanak too.

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Its Now time for Star Siblings to make a Place in Bollywood


Bollywood seems to be more of a hierarchical and legacy driven industry as nowhere else do we get to see families succeeding their forefathers in the industry, that too in such huge numbers. While one generation of these legacy bearers led by actresses like the Kapoor sisters, actors like the Khan brothers and junior Dutt has already made a strong foothold in the industry the younger lot is just about ready to take the reins in their own hands and the elder siblings seem to be happy enough passing on the baton to the younger ones.

Ready to make their debut with some big banner films are the star siblings Harshwardhan Kapoor (brother of Bollywood’s fashion icon Sonam Kapoor), Isabel Kaif (as is evident from the surname, sister of the ravishing Katrina Kaif), Armaan Jain (grandson of RajKapoor with a host of star Kapoor cousins) and Mohit Marwah ( Arjun and Sonam Kapoor’s cousin) with movies Mirza Sahibaan, Dr. Cabbie, Lekar Hum Deewana Dil and Fugly.

These star kids and star siblings are definitely born with the art in their blood line but it is their onscreen success that will eventually decide if the genes are recessive or dominant. While we are eagerly waiting to welcome this new generation of actors we sincerely hope that they are able to hold on to the legacy of good Indian cinema.