Naseeruddin Shah in Dear Liar and Ismat Apa Ke Naam Toronto

Why Not Theatre presents Beyond Bollywood with international star Naseeruddin Shah in two critically acclaimed plays

Why Not Theatre, the Dora Award-winning company who last brought us the smash hit A Brimful of Asha in association with Tarragon Theatre (and which returns this fall), presents Beyond Bollywood, a mini-festival featuring internationally renowned Bollywood stars Naseeruddin Shah and Ratna Pathak in two plays (Dear Liar and Ismat Apa Ke Naam) from Mumbai's Motley Theatre (founded by Shah to do primarily English plays), and a special In Conversation and film screening (Amal) in partnership with the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

Back by popular demand after a sold-out show in February of 2011, Naseeruddin Shah and Ratna Pathak Shah (his wife in real life) star in Dear Liar, a play by Jerome Kilty adapted from the passionate correspondence of canonical playwright George Bernard Shaw and Mrs. Patrick Stella Campbell, a famous actress of the time who inspired some of Shaw's characters including Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion (who she played the first time in 1914 at age 49).

Performed in English, this acclaimed drama runs September 28-30 at the brand new Regent Park Arts and Cultural Centre, the first major theatre production to be programmed at the new space. Dear Liar, spanning over 40 years, chronicles the deep mutual admiration and love (despite both of them being married, and not to each other) through a very significant era of history (1895 to 1939) which was witness not only to innumerable path-breaking accomplishments in the theatre but also to both World Wars and the end of Edwardian Era and with it, that particular way of life so dear to people like Mrs. Campbell.

Performed in Urdu/Hindi with English surtitles, Ismat Apa Ke Naam runs October 5-7 at the same venue. Naseeruddin Shah, Ratna Pathak Shah and Heeba Shah (their real life daughter) star in this lauded work based on a collection of three short stories by Ismat Chughtai (1915-1991), whose strong feminist ideology made her one of India's most beloved, successful and controversial writers of her time. Taking the form of three monologues, it explores human relationships and tackles taboo and controversial subjects such as the sanctity of marriage and monogamy, the lives of rural women and the decline of the "Mughal" aristocracy at the turn of the 20th century, all told with Chughtai's signature poetic flair.

In Conversation with Naseeruddin Shah, presented on October 3 in association with TIFF at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, celebrates the body of work of Mr. Shah, in conjunction with a screening of the award winning film, Amal (2007), followed by a Q&A with its star Naseeruddin Shah and its Toronto-based director/screenwriter Richie Mehta.

Naseeruddin Shah is one of Bollywood's most famous and talented superstars. He has won dozens of awards and has millions of fans the world over. His nearly four decades in film and theatre include over 130 roles in Indian cinema, along with international hits such as Monsoon Wedding (directed by Mira Nair), Amal (directed by Richie Mehta) and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (directed by Stephen Norrington and starring Sean Connery).

Founded in 2007, Why Not Theatre is a Toronto-based, Dora-Award winning theatre company with an international scope.  Under the Artistic Direction of Ravi Jain, Why Not has established a reputation as a company synonymous with inventive, experimental cross-cultural collaborations resulting in shows featuring new Canadian writing, company-devised shows alongside revitalized interpretations of classics. Ravi Jain won a Dora Award for his performance in SPENT, and is the 2012 recipient of the prestigious Pauline McGibbon Award administered by the Ontario Arts Council.  Why Not will be remounting the smash hit A Brimful of Asha in association with Tarragon Theatre this fall.

Motley Theatre was formed by Naseeruddin Shah and Benjamin Gilani in 1979. The group produces short and full-length English plays and has, for the last eight years, been performing in Hindustani as well. From being an itinerant troupe of two, Motley (later including Tom Alter, Ratna Pathak, Kenny Desai and Akash Khurana), now has a fairly large membership.

Beyond Bollywood is a unique cross-over experience that seeks to highlight the depth and high-quality work coming out of India and encourage diversity in performing arts audiences. This is the first time in the history of Canadian stages that a non-white actor, let alone a Bollywood star, will play George Bernard Shaw.

Why Not Theatre presents Beyond Bollywood
at the Regent Park Arts and Cultural Centre, 585 Dundas Street East
Dear Liar – September 28-30, 2012 (in English). Performances Sept 28 & 30 at 7:30pm; Sept 29 at 1:30pm.
Ismat Apa Ke Naam – October 5-7, 2012  (in Urdu/Hindi with English surtitles). All performances at 7:30pm.

Ticket Prices for all shows: $88/$44 ($22 students). Family Pack of four – $100.

Ask about the VIP Experience – Special Front Row seating, exclusive access to an intimate post-show Q&A with the stars (only 30 VIPs per night), and a complimentary ticket to the TIFF Special Event on Oct 3, 2012.

To book tickets, visit beyondbollywood.ca or call 1-800-838-3006
For more information, contact Owais Lightwala at info

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