We chat with veteran Indian cinema actor Kabir Bedi and fellow Canadian superstar Lisa Ray about their stage project TAJ, kick-starting its multi-city Canadian tour at the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga on October 19th, 2013.
First commissioned for the 2011 Luminato Festival, TAJ is a magical India-Canada collaboration that tells the story of the Taj Mahal through theatre, dance and visual art. Written by the Governor General Award-winning playwright John Murrell, TAJ takes us back to 17th Century Mughal India, putting a troubled era through the eyes of Emperor Shah Jahan (Kabir Bedi) and his oldest daughter, Jahanara (Lisa Ray). This cross-Canada tour by SAMPRADAYA Dance Creations, helmed by Artistic Director Lata Pada, will premiere at the studios home town of Mississauga at the Living Arts Centre.
Kabir Bedi needs no introduction. A veteran actor of over 40 years, Bedi has been various diverse projects, both in India and internationally. Within the world of Indian cinema, he has been involved with major films such as Farah Khan’s Main Hoo Na and Rakesh Roshan’s Khoon Bhari Maang. Bedi has successfully made a mark in international cinema, most notably known for starring in Octopussy along side Roger Moore, remaining the only Indian-actor to star in a James Bond film. He has established himself very well in Europe as well, especially Italy, being a part of one of the most successful television productions there: Sandokan. TAJ is not the first time Bedi has played the iconic emperor, first approaching the role in 2005’s historical-film by Akbar Khan, Taj Mahal: An Eternal Love Story.
Lisa Ray, by the same token, needs no introduction. Born in Toronto, Ontario, Ray spent close to 15 years in India, kick-starting her career in the arts through modelling and then, later, in film. She also appeared in a number of music-videos, including Afreen Afreen by legendary Qawwali-musician Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Upon her return to Canada, she involved herself in various film projects, including Deepa Mehta’s Bollywood/Hollywood. Her collaboration with Mehta would be a long one, collaborating once again on the 2005 Oscar-nominated film Water, right after Ray completed her acting studies in London. She has since been involved in multiple projects such as Cooking with Stella and Top Chef Canada.
The tour dates for TAJ are as follows (click on the location for ticket information):
October 19, 2013- Living Arts Centre, Mississauga, ON
October 23, 2013 – Grand Theatre, Kingston, ON
October 26, 2013- Kiwanis Theatre, Sault Saint Marie, ON
October 30, 2013 – Museum of Civilization, Gatineau, Quebec (Ottawa area)
November 1, 2013 – Flato Markham Theatre, Markham, ON
November 6, 2013 – Festival Place, Edmonton, Alberta
November 9, 2013 – The Banff Centre, Banff, Alberta
Enjoy the interview.
Cover Photo Credit: Aaron Lynett / National Post