Gandhi's Letters to Sarojini, Tom Alter Stages Reading

Gandhi's Letters to Sarojini, Tom Alter Stages Reading
His portrayal of Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad a few years ago was done in flawless Urdu and just recently theatre veteran Tom Alter lent his versatile voice to a reading of Mahatma Gandhi's letters to freedom fighter Sarojini Naidu.

Letters exchanged between Gandhi and Naidu from 1914 to 1948, formed the subject of the play staged here recently. The letters reveal events during India's struggle for independence as well as tell the tale of a deep probing relationship formed between the duo.

Danseuse Mrinalini Sarrabhai reads out Naidu's responses as well as letters and poems addressed to the Bapu.

"I make no attempt to imitate Gandhiji. Sarabhai and myself do not perform but read the letters out to each other. We have added many of our personal observations to the readings," Alter who was here recently for the play held at the Genesis Global School told PTI.

A brainchild of Mrinalini Sarabhai who helped edit a book of letters, The Mahatma and the Poetess, has been compiled by E S Reddy and published by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. There has been over 25 readings of the selected letters over the last four years.

"The original idea was Mrinalini's. She approached me five years ago and we have been conducting readings ever since," says Alter who previously, in a solo play Maulana Azad, spoke chaste Urdu dialogues while essaying the role of the late leader.

Out of more than 300 letters, the 35 selected letters speak about a host of issues ranging from poetry, love, diet, illness, Nehru, British rule etc.

"This time we had school children giving their own ideas about the freedom struggle in between the readings. They recite among other things Jawahar Lal Nehru's tryst with destiny as well as a few of Nehru's favourite poems," says Alter.
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