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Salman Khurshid, the actor, to entertain PM, President

Last updated on: October 24, 2011 11:15 IST

Salman Khurshid, the actor, to entertain PM, President

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A Delhi Correspondent

Union  Law Minister Salman Khurshid will enact an English play and show his non-political shade as an actor by taking part in the drama titled Sons of Babur during the three-day conference of governors that starts on October 28 at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The play, directed by Dr M Sayeed Alam, will feature many well-known theatre personalities, including Tom Alter and Madeeha Sadaf.

When contacted by rediff.com, Khurshid narrated the theme of the play.

"The play establishes a link between present times and the Mughal era in India and is set in the backdrop of 1857 with emperor Bahudar Shah Zafar playing the role of the protagonist," he said.

"Sons of Babur connects the present to the past, leading the audience to an introspection of the Mughal era in India besides providing some unique reading of Indian history."

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The term Sons of Babur is often used in a pejorative sense and in his theatre debut, Khurshid superimposes a search for India on that identity issue.

The playwright's intellectual search takes him back to the Mughal era and its demise in the aftermath of 1857.

The last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar is the central figure of the play that features about 20 actors of repute with legendary Tom Alter in the lead role.

Bahadur Shah, while languishing in exile in faraway Rangoon, pines for his beloved Delhi and takes solace in his poetry. In the present times, he has an ardent admirer in protagonist Rudranshu Mitra, a Delhi University student of history who is seeking a grant to visit Bahadur Shah's grave in Myanmar for his research work.

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Image: A scene from the play

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The play swings between fantasy and reality, past and present, logic and emotion, fact and fiction as Rudranshu virtually does a supernatural act to meet Bahadur Shah in person.

He is taken on a guided tour by Bahadur Shah through various milestone events of the Mughal era and they effortlessly slide into the world of Babur, Humayun, Akbar, Jahangir, Shahjahan and Aurangzeb -- all seen directing the course of medieval India.

The sort of identity crisis some Muslims face in India is effectively dealt with in the play, says director M Sayeed Alam of the Pierrot's Troupe.

Khurshid, the Corporate and Minority Affairs minister, wrote the 121-page Sons of Babur in 2008. The Urdu and Hindi version Babur Ki Aulad is based on Ather Farouqui's translation.

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The play will be enacted on Monday and Tuesday.

Many more shows of the play are in the pipeline, says Alam.

"On January 1, we are staging it in Delhi and in Shimla on January 5. We go to Gwalior for a show in February," he said.

In the play, Khurshid seems to have explored his own roots in Afghanistan from where his ancestors came to make India their permanent home. His ancestral home of Qaimgunj in Uttar Pradesh was once a collection of mullahs of Pathans.

While writing the play, Khurshid visited Babur's grave in Kabul, recently renovated and restored by the Aga Khan Foundation.

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Image: Tom Alter

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