July 06, 2020
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Pradeep Dalvi

The playwright on his controversial play 'Mee Nathuram...' leaving Indian shores

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Pradeep Dalvi
How come Nathuram Godse is travelling abroad?
TV-Asia approached us to stage some shows in the US, and later the Indo-American Cultural Society asked us to to do so in the US and the UK. We'll be staging the play's Hindi and Gujarati versions in the US in June; its English version in the US and UK in September.

Is Paresh Rawal playing Godse in all versions?
Actually Naseeruddin Shah has almost confirmed he'll play Godse in the English version.

Will Rawal, a celebrated villain, affect the 'halo' around Godse's head?
In fact, Rawal's a hero in Marathi theatre. His first role as hero was in one of my plays.

Can Naseer play Godse after playing Gandhi in Mahatma Vs Gandhi?
The fact that Naseer's played Gandhi doesn't matter at all if he has to play Godse in another play. He and Paresh Rawal are brilliant actors; that's all that counts.

Is there any legal barrier in taking the play abroad when it's banned here?
There's no ban right now. The one issued through the Maharashtra governor expired on April 30, 1999. Even if another ban is issued, the law doesn't forbid the producer from staging it in another country.

How many shows are you planning to stage?
We've got offers for 10 shows in Hindi, 12 in Gujarati and 11 in English.

Will the play go to South Africa where Gandhi is revered so much?
If we're called there, we'll go. We'll go to Rwanda if someone's willing to sponsor us.

Are you anticipating any kind of trouble?
No. Not now. The Congress first created trouble without even seeing the play. Those who've seen it will understand that it's not against Gandhi at all. I'm more concerned right now about my case in the Supreme Court.

Will there be any opposition in those countries?
There's complete freedom of expression in the US. I don't expect any trouble there.

Will the play ever become a film?
Paresh was suggesting it the other day. It may become a film but I'll ensure all sides are shown. I've got some documents from the archives that suggest the co-conspirators were never tried. The film can put things in the right perspective.

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