Namit Das: Music in His Veins

An archival interview with Namit Das, in which the actor-singer of the Mumbai stage looks back at his musical legacy.

What are your earliest memories of music?

My earliest memories take me back to Mahim, to the house where we used to stay, Makrand Seh Niwas. It was the first house we had shifted into, as paying guests, when my father (ghazal singer Chandan Dass) arrived in Mumbai. Everything took place with the sea as a backdrop — my father’s riyaaz, my trying to mimic him on the ‘baby harmonium’ that my mother (Yamini Dass) had bought me.

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Sankar Venkateswaran’s Tage der Dunkelheit

It is the last day of the decisive battle of the Mahabharata. As storms sweep over the battlefield, it rains rocks, vultures circle in the sky and rivers flow in the wrong direction. These are ominous portents for the last struggle for succession to the throne of Kuru. In the decisive battle, it is finally the true king that is victorious. But at what price and in whose name is the war being fought here?

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Caryl Churchill’s Far Away

A young girl far away from home wakes up in the middle of the night. She has heard the sound of someone screaming. Perhaps, her aunt tells her, it was only an owl. But it isn’t an owl, and the girl’s life will never be the same again. Caryl Churchill’s brief but chilling play depicts a surreal world hurtling towards political and ecological catastrophe, a world where nothing can be trusted – not even the birds in the trees.

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Naked Voices

Being a director, it’s not very easy for me to collaborate with another director in the capacity of a scenographer. However, collaborating with Neelam Mansingh Chowdhry is different. I adore the clarity of her thoughts and the provocative critical positions that she courageously takes in her work. This I find extraordinary. Last year we did Bitter Fruit and now Naked Voices. Both plays are based on Saadat Hasan Manto’s works and performed by some brilliant actors from the National School of Drama.

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The Spectre of Censorship

A look at censorship woes faced by urban theatre in Mumbai in recent years. This article was filed in July, 2015.

In Chaitanya Tamhane’s National Award-winning film, Court, a throwaway comment about an obsolete sect by a defense lawyer (Vivek Gomber) during case proceedings results in him being assaulted by vigilantes outside an upscale Gujarati eatery, Chetana, in Kala Ghoda.

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