25 June, 2021

Walking On Barbed Wire

Art in the time of nuclear fever: bouquets and bans, theatre's good boy Feroz Khan gets it all

Walking On Barbed Wire

AT 39, Feroz Khan carries a weight on his shoulders. Controversy, like success, is a lamb, following him wherever he goes—the latest snafu occurring in edgy, post-Pokhran

Pakistan. Performances of Tumhari Amrita, slotted for May 22-May 29, were cancelled at the last minute in Karachi and other cities, despite the fact that the tickets were sold out. Says a disappointed Shabana 'Amrita' Azmi: "The theatres have been receiving threatening calls, forbidding them from associating with Indian artistes."

On a long-distance call from Lahore, Khan was left wondering, "If cricket which evokes stronger passions and trade between the two countries can go on, why not art? Is it because art is a soft target and does not have the financial stakes that cricket does?" At the same time, he accepts responsibility for putting Tumhari Amrita on a weak wicket there. "The permissions and the visas were given after the nuclear tests. But it was jointly decided by the Citizen's Foundation and me that this wasn't the right...

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