Motley was formed by Naseeruddin Shah & Benjamin Gilani in 1979. From being an itinerant troupe of two, Motley (later including Tom Alter, Ratna Pathak, Kenny Desai and Akash Khurana), now has a pretty large membership.
Right from 1979 till date, Motley has brought every possible genre of drama to audiences of professional theatre across the length and breadth of India, and has performed to student audiences as well. With ‘story-telling’ theatre, Motley has found its niche and is serving the purposes of both entertainment as well as education.
Motley’s uniqueness lies in its diverse range of plays. "Waiting For Godot", the modern classic, was the first production of the group, followed by abstract masterpieces like “Zoo Story”, “The Lesson” (1980), “The Dumb Waiter” (1981) and “Endgame” (1988).“The Caine Mutiny Court Martial”(1990), one of the finest courtroom dramas of post World War II, and “Julius Caesar” (1992) with a seventy-strong cast, followed by “Dear Liar” (1994) with a cast of two In 2000, Motley mounted its first Hindustani production, “Ismat Apa ke Naam”, based on a collection of short stories by Ismat Chughtai. "Manto…Ismat Haazir Hain" (2001) was the second production in Motley’s series of Hindustani short stories and centered around the concept of 'obscenity', a charge often leveled at the two writers. More productions of 'story telling' followed, using works by writers like Premchand, Kamtanath, Saadat Hasan Manto, Mohan Rakesh, and even Haruki Murakami, Italo Calvino, and Kahlil Gibran.