Monday, March 4, 2024

Theatre; still a foundation for many actors

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Theatre is a magical place where stories come to life. Celebrating beauty, creativity, hard work and artistry on World Theatre Day, The Pioneer interacts with few of the renowned faces of the theatre world, who take us through their journey of making it big on stage.


In your dreams theatre is a dying art. So many years in this industry, getting to know multiple artists — there’s always been this intuition that theatre is just facing some social issues but it’s never at the death’s door.

There is a definitive scope in theatre, look at the creative side of  this developing art. We have old stagers who had already taken this art form to par excellence and it continues. Ratna Pathak Shah is one of the biggest theatre artists who set a benchmark in cinema, or if you talk about the recent trending man Manav Kaul, who always found something special on stage.

So on the special occasion for all the theatre enthusiasts, we bring to you a story from the renowned faces, who always have given their all in a life performance for their audiences.

Saurabh Shukla

Saurabh Shukla is a part of Zee theatre’s Khamosh Adalat Jaari Hai. He is also a national award winning actor, who didn’t have anyone to back him up. He is known for a single take action!

“A time-honoured, ancient form of art, and the history of theatre goes way back to the beginning of culture in human society. Though one of the oldest forms, it has evolved over time and different cultures have amalgamated to create distinct kinds of theatre like Greek or Sanskrit theatre. Each one had its own identity, and then the intermingling of cultures made it possible for modern theatre to emerge. But the catch is — success is often defined by the perceptions of the external world so it is wrong to think that doing theatre will guarantee that you will be successful,” says the actor, adding that success for him means becoming progressively better at your craft, that’s where theatre helped him in that quest.

The point for him was always that creativity is a very personal journey and the satisfaction it brings to you is something only you will know. “Theatre all over the world, except I would say at broadway and some other box-office driven places, is not an economic activity but is fueled mostly by the passion of people who are trying to do something new, especially at an experimental level! It’s the search for meaning and for art which defines it and gives you ample time to improvise. For instance, if you are on a film set, a day costs a humongous amount of money, and each moment must be made to count.

Whereas in theatre, the final show happens generally after a few  months and you slowly, organically start figuring out things. Theatre gives you time to think and to explore  its various aspects and that makes it a great learning platform. Here, an actor is not just an actor but she/he also helps in putting the sets and the costumes together, contributes to the music and the lighting,   improvises and becomes immersed in the totality and richness of that medium! I believe that theatre is never done in isolation and even a solo performance will at least have one other person deeply invested in its success.”

Delnaaz Irani

Never failing to impress the audience is also Delnaaz Irani, she is seen in Zee Theatre’s Shireen Shah. She still hasn’t left her unity with theatre format.

“Theatre gives you a sense of community and builds an extended family that you cannot find anywhere else. Everyone is working towards one goal and it’s not just the actor that’s important here. Theatre comes to life when everyone does their part honestly and efficiently. Theatre has an immense impact on its audiences, actors and anyone who is a part of it. I do feel that theatre lets you connect with your inner self more because it’s such a special and intimate form of art. It also strengthens your connection with the concerns and issues of the world and opens your mind to views other than your own. It makes you both reflective and introspective! Get involved in a theatre project at least once because it is a life-changing experience.”

Geetanjali Kulkarni

We also have Geetanjali Kulkarni on board with us, who is part of Zee Theatre’s Piya Behrupiya and a popular face of Marathi cinema. She has always embraced the vibrant culture of theatre as far as we can remember. When modern Indian theatre developed, we saw her emerging. Participating in theatrical dramas, she is celebrating theatre from a really long time.

“Even when language was not developed; through sounds, body language, expressions, and gestures, the human race shared its experiences and stories. It is also very important in today’s time because it channels our emotions, allows self-expression, makes us question ourselves, the society, human relationships and traditions. So catharsis is needed for any society and theatre provides that in a very simple way. With just one performer and one spectator, you can create theatre and there is no need for anything else!

I think live performances are even more important in today’s time when we are becoming so dependent on technology. In fact, there are many studies that also say that theatre has helped people who are going through depression recover. It has even been used as a reformative tool in prison! In Natya Shastra, it is said that the spectator is ‘swadhyay’, or someone who is discovering the self along with the actor. There are many films which have raised political issues, and discussed human rights or women’s rights as well.

What sets theatre apart and gives it more power is that it is not an expensive medium and can reach out to people without much financial investment! It can reach out to communities, to children and the youth because it can be done anywhere.

Cinema is dependent on a lot of financial considerations whereas theatre is more accessible, more viable, more available. That’s why it has the capacity to make more of a difference.”

All of these known artists are making differences in their own way. We call them the players of the highest calibre!

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