I still remember Habib Tanvir inviting me on my request for an interview in Bhopal during the month of March 2003. I reached at the right time and while he was busy giving final touches to a rehearseal, I sat for more than an hour with no communication between us as if we were strangers. The highly talented playwright and theatre director came back to me only after he finished his work.
And when he spoke, he threw his frustration at the Gujarat riots. “After all what is religion? How can you be swayed by political figures to kill each other. I just cannot understand,” he put his silent mould again for another quarter to half an hour before asking me to sit on a chair. I was sitting on the ground till then in his theatre room as he was thinking of a new play. The purpose of my vist was to know about this. All his character actors, most of whom were from the nomad tribes, waited breathlessly to hear a word from him at the Naya theatre premises.
Agra Bazar and Charandas Chor were his famous creations but I was not interested in his plays. I was more interested in his comments on the Gujarat scenario as he planned a play on it. I wanted to know the angle of the act.
Soon I felt he was almost into a siesta. I asked the actors standing in front of me whether the play is a reality or not. I asked them without opening my mouth in action languages that neither they could understand nor I could communicate. “No,” came the reply from one of the youngest actors.
It was 3 hours by then and I could get no bytes for my radio story. I insisted that I need him to speak and only then my mission will be accomplished. He opened his mouth very well and spoke clearly his mind after he realised that what I need is sound byte. My tribute to this silent man who died in 2009 leaving behind a great legacy.