I’ve been visiting Dubai for the past 25 years as part of plays, so performing for audiences here is always a pleasure. The city has quite the thriving theatre scene – we’ve been exploring different venues from Imax to Ductac, Crowne Plaza, as well as the Dubai Indian High school.
IN THE SWIM OF THINGS
On weekends or my days off, I enjoy swimming. It’s my ultimate stress buster after all the hectic activities and constantly being on the move. Luckily, there’s a pool just five minutes away from my home in Mumbai. Cooking is a great way to unwind too. I love to make all kinds of salads.
It still overwhelms me when fans say how much they love the Nineties TV series Byomkesh Bakshi. Even now, they’re unable to differentiate fact from fiction. Once, in Kolkata, a man followed me around to see what case I was solving. I had to explain to him I wasn’t Byomkesh but just me, taking a walk.
RUN FOR THE HILLS
I do enjoy travelling, but as a theatre actor I’m constantly touring and performing in new destinations, and sometimes I get fed up of airports when I’m moving every three days. When I do manage to eke out some time for leisure, Barcelona and Amsterdam are my favourite places to visit. Closer home, Himachal Pradesh offers wonderful respite with its beautiful mountains.
I’ve been inspired more by performances than a particular actor. Robin Williams’ Dead Poet’s Society is a film that left an indelible mark on me. Other inspiring performances are Irrfan Khan as Pan Singh Tomar and Naseeruddin Shah’s portrayal of a blind man in Sparsh.
Director Shyam Benegal has been a mentor to me in so many ways. He’s like family. Since my first film, Suraj Ka Satvan Ghoda (1992), I’ve been part of all his projects, so over the years a certain ease has set in automatically. Actress Shernaz Patel and I share trust we’ve built as co-actors performing the play Love Letters for 24 years now. It’s a kind of dependability that doesn’t come often and with everyone.
I enjoy both fiction and non-fiction. At the moment, I’m reading Iqbal, a biography on the Pakistani poet-philosopher Muhammad Iqbal. who is one of the founders of Pakistan. It’s written by Dr Hafeez Malik.
If I could spend a day with any of the iconic characters I’ve portrayed, it would be Mahatma Gandhi. I want to understand what made him leave everything in South Africa, and ultimately become the Mahatma.