Pakistani Showbiz

I managed to do what my father never did

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Ever since the National Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA) had announced the schedule for their International Theatre Festival, one play that had been labelled as the top draw for the event was Daddy as it was going to be presented by none other than Mahesh Bhatt himself.

After several weeks of anticipation and an anti-climactic build up in the form of visa issues faced by the Indian theatre artistes, Mahesh Bhatt finally arrived in Pakistan alongside his daughter, actor-turned-director, Pooja Bhatt on Monday evening.

While addressing the audience in a completely packed auditorium Mahesh Bhatt, at the conclusion of the play, lauded the director for bringing his film to life on stage while pointing out to a scene from the climax of the play which reminded him of his own personal struggles with alcoholism.

“I still remember the night when Pooja had gone to sleep after rehearsing her dialogues and I had already proclaimed to the world that I had quit drinking. With my daughter asleep and no one else watching I felt that a sip would do me no harm but then I heard this voice from within my heart that, ‘Mahesh Bhatt you can lie to the whole world but not to your daughter”, narrated the legendary director-producer.

He added that such moments in life were very valuable to him saying, “Life wrote this story for me and I ended up stealing from it.”

While referencing the father-daughter relationship in Daddy, Mahesh Bhatt credited his own daughter, Pooja for being an immense pillar of support for him throughout his entire life.

“I am very grateful to my daughter for bringing out in me the colour that I was completely unaware of,” remarked Mahesh Bhatt.

His daughter, Pooja Bhatt reciprocated her father’s sentiment by quoting a dialogue from the movie that, “It’s not only the right of the parent to be proud of its child, but also the right of the child to be proud of its parent.”

Pooja noted that she shares a special bond with Karachi as she debuted her first film as a director in Karachi at the Kara Film Festival and jokingly adding, “It wasn’t a great film but I still did what he never did, I debuted here [Karachi]. And today here I am with you people watching my first film that I did 26 years ago.”

In a separate conversation with the members of the press and media representatives, Pooja Bhatt spoke of how her production company has been collaborating with Pakistani artistes on an “unofficial” level.

“For instance the music Rahat (Fateh Ali Khan) and Ali (Azmat) gave me for Paap; if you remove that music from the film then you have taken therooh (soul) out of the movie”, exclaimed Pooja Bhatt.

Having previously directed popular films like Paap and Jism 2, Pooja was hopeful continuing her association with Pakistani artistes, “I will try and ensure that there is a collaboration between our artistes in every film regardless of whether our government’s give us the green signal for this or not. As there are no boundaries for artistes”.

The play Daddy, which is an adaptation of the 1989 film of the same name directed by Mahesh Bhatt, tells the story of a daughter who helps her father beat his addiction to alcohol and rekindle their relationship.

Directed by Danish Iqbal, the play is being performed by the Mahesh Bhatt Group of India and is part of a series of Indian plays being performed at the ongoing theatre festival with the other plays being Tum Kaun and Kasumal Sapno.

Daddy will also be performed on March 31 and April 1 at NAPA.

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