Before making a mark in Bollywood with a string of hits like Munnabhai MBBS (2003), 3 Idiots (2009) and more, Boman Irani had been a notable figure in the theatre circuit.
Now, he returns to the stage after 10 years with Meherzad Patel’s play, Rusty Screws. The performance will be held as a fundraiser for the 150-year celebration of St Mary’s School, of which Irani and the entire cast are alumni.
Though the witty drama has been performed at various theatre festivals earlier, the script has been reworked, and Boman Irani will be seen in a double role now. Ahead of the performance, the actor talks about what the project means to him, his Bollywood experience and more.
What was the motivation behind this comeback? And how was the experience of working with your schoolmates?
It’s not exactly a comeback, as I never considered myself to have left. The biggest motivation of the project was the chance to contribute to St Mary’s School. I studied there, and my children went there too. Working alongside people from St Mary’s is a novelty. The cast and the alumni association have painstakingly cooperated with my schedule. The credit goes to them.
Tell us about the two roles you’re playing.
I play a hot-headed south Indian boss and my school principal. It is a treat portraying the principal. We aren’t making fun of him, but paying tribute to him and his style of governance.
As a medium, how do you think films differ from theatre?
Each has its own space and earns its own respect. Theatre isn’t a stepping stone to Bollywood, but one must do enough theatre to gain the experience required to be an actor. Rehearsals teach you more than performances — something a film shoot won’t give you. But, a film gives you an experience of a whole different kind.
Will we see more of you in theatre now?
Bollywood has been kind to me and I am enjoying movies right now. However, we’ve spoken of doing more shows of Rusty Screws. Since we’ve spent so much time rehearsing, it’s only logical to make the most of it.