Actor Deven Khote on returning to the stage as a director with a comedy that tackles death and loss.
Even though he made his professional stage debut way back in the 1970s — with the Alyque Padamsee-directed Arthur Miller classic, Death of a Salesman, at the Tata Theatre, where he shared the stage with a stellar cast, which included Dolly Thakore, Vijay Crishna, and his father Farrokh Mehta — actor Deven Khote says, as he settles into a sofa at his Malabar Hill apartment, he didn’t feel “the heebie-jeebies” then, which he is experiencing now. This Friday, the 57-year-old is making his “professional” directorial debut with Good Mourning. Written by British actor Kavi Shastri, the play’s impressive cast includes Sohrab Ardeshir, Anu Menon, Aseem Hattangady, Ryatasha Rathore, Omkar Kulkarni, Danny Sura and Zafar Karachiwala. The story, which is inspired by Khote, presents a funny take on the aftermath of tragedy and loss. “The play that Ashvin [Gidwani, theatre producer] approached me with was about a death at a brothel,” recalls Khote. “But one evening, when Kavi and I were sitting together and casually chatting, I told him about something that happened to me many years ago — I was out of college, when a group of us happened to sit with a friend who had just lost his father. We took him to another friend’s place to cheer him up, and soon alcohol got involved and the evening turned into one of the most surreal events I have ever been through.”
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