Since I came back from watching our vice chancellor play Akbar in a stage play titled “Akbar-Salim-Anarkali” (Don’t be misled by the title, there were more characters in the play.) on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011, people have been asking me what I thought of it. How did he do? How did our vice chancellor perform as Akbar, is all what they want to know.
Nobody wants to know how the play was; all everyone is interested in finding out is how well did “Akbar Jung” do.
Before I tell you how our VC did as Akbar, I feel a disclosure is in order. Because if I don’t, people who know me will accuse me of being secretly vindictive, given what had happened with me at the event.
Jamia Journal, keeping in with our practice, had planned to cover the event on Sunday. However, our attempt to cover and report was thwarted by our university proctor, Masood Alam.
Like most students at the event, we were not allowed inside the auditorium and were made to watch the play on a projector screen setup at the open-air amphitheater next to the Ansari Auditorium.
The reasons for not letting students inside the auditorium are officially unstated, but the understanding is that our auditorium is a small one, and when such big events take place, “guests” get first preference to the seats inside. And it is only after these guests have taken their seats, are students allowed in to fill-up the rest of the empty seats.
Though we are a well recognized newspaper on campus by now, our university proctor apparently doesn’t think we should get any special consideration as a student newspaper. And as a result, all our preparation to cover the event was wasted. Our cameras never even came out of their cases because we didn’t see any point in taking pictures or recording the play off a projector screen. Therefore, there are no videos or pictures of the play forthcoming in our newspaper.
Even though, I had a bad experience, I like to state that my opinion of our VC’s performance is not prejudiced by the incident. I believe I can be objective and mature enough to not let that affect my assessment of his performance.
That said, in my opinion, VC Jung’s performance as Akbar was mediocre at best.
But I think to expect anything else was expecting too much. Our VC is not a professional actor. And on stage he was surrounded by what I believe were professional stage actors. You cannot help but compare his acting skills with other actors on stage. They probably act for a living. While from what I’ve read, VC Jung hasn’t acted since his days in college.
Moreover, I think another more significant reason for not being impressed with VC Jung’s performance as Akbar is the fact that Prithviraj Kapoor’s role as Akbar in “Mughal-e-Azam” has forever set a benchmark for all Akbars to come after him. He has set the bar so high I believe, that no one can even imagine of ever reaching it. I feel even if Akbar were to come back from the dead and played himself in a movie, we’d still compare him with Prithviraj Kapoor and criticize his performance. That’s how good he was as Akbar.
This is why I hated Hrithik Roshan as Akbar in the movie “Jodha-Akbar.” And if we were to compare Hrithik and our VC, I would say, VC Jung is a far better Akbar than Hrithik can ever be. Take that however you may see fit.
If there is anything good to be said about our VC’s performance as Akbar, is that he looked the part. His costume and makeup was splendidly done. Even his posture was convincing. But I think there was no acting there, that’s his posture in real life too.
So as long as he was not acting, I for one was convinced and impressed by his performance as Akbar.