Disappointing to see lack of new theatres in Delhi: Salim Arif

- February 23, 2024
| By : Idrees Bukhtiyar |

Penned by prominent screenwriter Javed Siddiqui, Gudamba play was performed at Sri Ram Centre, New Delhi under the 25th edition of the National School of Drama’s Bharat Rang Mahotsav

HOPEFUL: Director Salim Arif is hopeful that theatre is going to survive in future

Well-known theatre director Salim Arif says theatre is not going to die ever as it is still loved by the audience.

“Theatre started some 4,000 years ago and this is not going to die. People are coming, watching and enjoying plays. It is also a mode of entertainment for them,” he says.

Arif, who is known for his work as a theatre director, however, is unhappy at the lack of increase in theatres in the Capital.

“New roads, airports and buildings are coming up in Delhi but, unfortunately, no more theatres are being built. Shri Ram Centre and Kamani Auditorium are very old theatres but no efforts have been made to build new theatres where our youth can get a stage to perform. At least 15 theatres should have been built by the government in the city by now,” he says.

About his connection with Delhi, Arif says that he has been visiting the city since 1981 when he was a student at the National School of Drama (NSD). 

“I hail from Lucknow, and Delhi is like a second home to me. I come to meet my friends and also go out to try the non-vegetarian food in Chandni Chowk. I still visit NSD and everybody loves me there. Overall, I spend 10 days every month in Delhi,” he says. 

A visiting faculty at Whistling Woods International, a top film institute in Mumbai headed by the renowned film director Subhash Ghai, Arif says that Gudamba is all about real-life experiences. 

“When this story was narrated to me by Javed Siddiqui Sahab, I was truly impressed by the idea and I decided to work on it,” says the director of Gudamba.

Arif says that the character of the play needed effort and someone who could put life into it. 

“I don’t have a better option in my mind than my wife Lubna. She has been doing it very well wherever we perform it,” he says.

When asked about his collaboration with lyricist Gulzar, he says, “We are like a family and have developed a bond over the years. We have worked together and I have directed Gulzar Sahab’s written plays. He respects my work as a director and I am always grateful to him for that,” Arif says.

In the backdrop of Gudamba play, which has multiple messages, Arif believes that parents need to understand their children and cooperate with them. 

“Times have changed and parents have to adjust to their new generation of children. They would have to understand their highs, and lows and cooperate with them. You have to be like their friends,” he says. 

For the new generation who want to explore theatre and films, Arif has a message. He says, “Learn to have patience first because success doesn’t come within a night. It takes time.”