Shahid to show up for Mom!It's been 12 years since Neelima Azeem gave a dance performance on stage. Come August 14, the dancer-turned-actor is all set to stage a comeback to perform at the National Festival of Indian Classical Dance.
On the same night, dance lovers of Kolkata will also witness Kuchipudi performances by Raja and Radha Reddy, Odissi recitals by Esha Deol and sister Ahana Deol and a Bharatnatyam performance by Hema Malini.
The Festival begins on August 10 with Vyjayanthimala Bali presenting Sita. This will be followed by recitals by Malavika Sen and Vishal Krishna. "On August 11, we have recitals by Bharati Shivaji, Sujata Mahapatra and Rajendra Gangani. The latter will be accompanied by Pt Kumar Bose on the tabla. The following day will see recitals by Malavika Sarukkai, Madhuri Mazumdar and Moulik Shah. Pt Anindya Chatterjee will be accompanying Shah on the tabla. On August 13, the programme will begin with a recital by Swapna Sundari, followed by Sutapa Talukdar's Odissi recital. The final act will be by Pt Rammohan Maharaj, who will be accompanied by Pt Kumar Bose," says Shouvik Dasgupta, the man behind the Festival.
Ask Neelima about her comeback show in Kolkata, and she says, "It's been 12 years since I stopped dancing on stage. Passionate about dance, I could never imagine doing it in half measures. Eight months ago, I was nursing a foot injury. It's quite challenging for me to dance now since my injured left foot is the one that's used for the chakkars. I'm glad to be returning to the stage in Kolkata. I also have other shows coming up in Mumbai, Delhi and Indore. I'll begin my recital with a symbolic presentation that has a Sufi feel. Then, I shall go on to the traditional Kathak recital before dancing to a ghazal of Dr Iqbal. The final act will be a tarana in raag Malhar." What about the buzz that son Shahid will be coming down to Kolkata to introduce her on stage? "He might come. As a mother, I might get a little distracted worrying about his security if he is there in the audience. That apart, his presence will only energise me on stage," she adds.
Does she have any plans of doing a fusion dance show with Shahid? "The idea sounds good," she says, adding, "But the budget for such a show would be humungous. It would also come along with star trappings. If the show is on that scale, I could bounce the idea off him. But I would want to have all the details on paper before I proceed."
Meanwhile, Neelima is also planning to return to Kolkata soon to shoot her directorial debut. With her Nawab Nautanki being 'stalled for the time being', Neelima has now decided to begin shooting Tere Saath Hun Mein — a film set in the mountains. "Soon after my show in Delhi, I will be returning to this part of India to shoot my film in monasteries of Darjeeling, Gangtok and even, Nepal. My film is a love story that's shrouded in mystery. It's about an aspiring writer who discovers life and love." Will the film see Shahid in the lead? "No," she says, adding, "I need a fresh face to play the aspiring writer. While I've cast a new boy and girl as leads, the supporting cast has known faces. I'll reveal those names later."