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Try Lady Macbeth, Ian McKellen tells Sonam Kapoor

When Sonam Kapoor asked Sir Ian McKellen about Shakepeare's female characters

Sonal Pandya

After the conversation on William Shakespeare, life and acting between Sir Ian McKellen and Hindi film star Aamir Khan ended, the audience at the Tata Theatre at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Mumbai was eager to ask the veteran thespian a few questions.

One of the lucky few who actually got to ask a question was actress Sonam Kapoor. She asked about the female characters written by Shakespeare as his plays, from Othello to Hamlet, mostly revolve around men. Kapoor also asked about McKellen's favourite female character.

The cheeky Scotsman answered that with her long legs, Sonam Kapoor would be a shoo-in for Lady Macbeth. McKellen later elaborated that he always equated Macbeth with the 'semi-criminal' Richard Nixon, until one director asked him to imagine the Macbeths as John F Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline. He explained that there are many layers to any character that an actor plays, and no one can guess the real intentions beneath their golden exteriors. With Judi Dench as his partner, no wonder he came to admire Lady Macbeth so.

Kapoor and McKellen then exchanged their preferences of female Shakespearean character. Kapoor said she had always wanted to play Portia, the bright young and incredibly rich heiress at the heart of The Merchant Of Venice. Sir Ian, meanwhile, confessed that he would want to portray Volumnia, the mother of Coriolanus. They concluded their brief chat with a note about the all-female casts taking up Shakespearean plays around the world.