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Arghya Lahiri, Nadir Khan to feature in a digital Sherlock Holmes parody

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By Siddhi Jain

New Delhi, Jan 16 (IANSlife) Aadyam’s digital play ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ parody, an Akash Khurana directorial, is all set to be screened this weekend. With three masterly actors, the play a comic take on one of Sherlock’s finest murder mysteries.

Adapted by Steven Canny and John Nicholson, this is a comic take on the Sherlock Holmes story that turns a tale of terror into an engaging burlesque. The cast includes Vivek Madan as Sherlock Holmes, Arghya Lahiri as Dr. Watson and Nadir Khan as Sir Charles Baskerville, all three essaying a total of 15 characters onstage.

According to Arghya Lahiri, a writer, director, lighting designer and filmmaker: “I had an easier task than my two redoubtable comrades because I was playing the same character I’d played in the previous production. Watson’s the straight guy, the butter in a bewildering range of sandwiches that Vivek and Nadir were able to assemble, all at dizzying speed. But that also makes him, in a way, that audience’s sole representative. I think he’s a sweet, bumbling fool. But loyal to a fault and his heart’s in the right place. He’d also be wonderful in an emergency, if he ever managed to get the gun out of his jacket. I hope that’s what the audience takes away. As for me, I had a wonderful time. This play has always been special for me; the team was fantastic, and the other two gentlemen made it a blast on stage. I hope it’s a good time for everyone that watches it. That’s what it’s meant to be.”

About his personal experiences with the stories of Sir Arthur Canon Doyle, he told IANSlife: “I read a lot of him as a kid, of course. Oddly enough, ‘The Lost World’ was always a big favourite (and what an excellent ending). Completely by chance, I had the opportunity to reacquaint myself with much of the Holmes canon over the past year. It was the perfect kind of nostalgia – it was like meeting old friends after thirty-odd years. I had the joy of discovering the stories anew, but names and details and incidents would leap out at me, like I’d walked into a house that I already knew well and I read most of the stories with a big smile on my face. I was surprised at how much the modern mystery/thriller genre owes to Conan Doyle. And also how dark some of the work was, and how much it foreshadowed forensics and criminal psychology as we know it in this day and age.”

His co-actor Nadir Khan is a director, actor, producer and radio professional who has been part of English theatre in India since 1998. Both have been associated with the founding of QTP Entertainment.

Speaking about his role in the play ‘The Hound of Baskerville’, Khan says: “It’s a really fun character/series of characters to play. The main reason I decided to say yes to this one was the fact that I’d be on stage with two of my closest friends and, that too, in a play that’s a spoof – that’s a once in lifetime opportunity, pretty much. We had a superb crew who were a real joy to work with, which does make a massive difference, especially in these very challenging times.”

Finally, the theatre personality shares his take on digital theatre and how different it is for him as an actor.

“I think theatre going online is serving a very specific purpose right now. Once the world returns to a semblance of normalcy, I don’t think it will have as much presence. It’s been a wonderful opportunity to innovate and experiment with some very impressive work being created – the most successful of which have been created/adjusted specifically to be shot, in my opinion. As an actor all I can really say, having come back to acting after so many years, is that it’s quite surreal. Not having an audience and performing to a void takes some adjustment, but is an interesting situation to be in.”

“Because it was filmed theatre, it wasn’t a whole lot different, actually. Particularly as we performed in a full proscenium, like we were before an actual audience. Performances can become markedly different, but that’s in other kinds of work – smaller, more intimate pieces that blur the line between cinema and theatre. This was an attempt to capture a performance in full flight. However, because we were all wearing mics, I found that we were able to do things vocally that we perhaps would have had to eschew for the sake of volume and accessibility. But we were still largely acting as we would in the theatre,” adds Lahiri.

Tickets for Aadyam’s The Hound of The Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle are available on insider.in. Show dates are January 16 and 17.

(Siddhi Jain can be contacted at siddhi.j@ians.in)

–IANS

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