‘Under an Oak Tree’, the bio play that got rave reviews and full houses in its stagings across India and overseas, was staged to a full house and resounding ovation in the city at The Park on Friday, June 3. The occasion was momentous: 38th anniversary of passing away of revered theatre thespian late Qadir Ali Baig.
As writer and filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt rightly said in his tribute that “Baig sahab left his footprints in the sands of time. He is revered as one of the founding fathers of free speech and thought in India”. A one-minute silence was observed before the staging of the play in memory of the doyen. And as the play began, the solemn mood continued where son and celebrated revivalist Mohammad Ali Baig held the packed ballroom in awe with his striking performance.
As per a press release, commendably switching from the story-teller to the protagonist to the actor, Baig in a debonair grey attire was a master class in stage performance. Ably supported by veterans Rashmi Seth and Vijay Prasad, with deft lighting and sound design, the biographical writing of Noor Baig gave the city’s theatre lovers a memorable evening. Little wonder that the aesthetically crafted production was given a sold-out premiere in its first season when it opened at the stately Lord Mountbatten Hall in London before the pandemic.
Scenes where the young boy recollecting manning the box office to losing ‘the man in his life before becoming a man himself’ with the metaphor of lighting and thunder left a deep philosophical mark. The Oak Tree in the middle of the stage loomed large on the occasion. The play was produced by Begum Razia Baig.