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Posted at: Jun 14, 2019, 7:36 AM; last updated: Jun 14, 2019, 7:36 AM (IST)

Life, a stage

Sudhir Pandey deliberates upon the changing world of theatre and the need to focus on the art form
Life,  a stage

Sheetal

There is no second take in theatre and while everybody knows that, only few understand this notion and this understanding comes from the experience of having worked in both mediums. Sudhir Pandey, recently played father to Akshay Kumar in Toilet-Ek Prem Katha, a ‘bhayankar theatre addict’ as he calls himself, never misses a chance to enact on stage. While his love is performing on stage, one thing that he accepts is, “In India, theatre has still not become the medium to provide livelihood and one cannot survive without having a back-up plan.”

Like birds come back home every day after searching for food, Sudhir loves to do plays to take a break from the monotony. He says, “Theatre is the way to recharge my battery. I get to challenge myself while on stage. There are points where you improvise your own play when you get stuck somewhere or forget something, but remember you cannot deflect from the subject of the scene, otherwise the error will be noticed by all. Also, self-assessment is required for every artiste. While singers, dancer can do their riyaz by practicing alone, I feel acting is a give-and-take process, where you got to have a group to do riyaz.”

To the young aspiring theatre artistes or even actors, he adds, “The only thing I would advice is to have that discipline and sportsmanship to practice the art. And while performing, never forget that your role is not bigger than the overall performance.” 

And what difference does he see in theatre from then and now? He quips, “People have started paying money for tickets.”

Sudhir adds, “Marathi and Bengali literature has been producing great plays, but writers need to come forward to produce more plays in Hindi language. While we can count Indian playwrights on fingers, with the talent we have it shouldn’t be the scenario. And there must be something that government can do to incentivise the universities and theatre should be seen as one of the subject.”

About his play Welcome Zindagi, he says that he plays a miser father who cribs about everything and does not enjoy his life. The main scene, that’s also the end, is between him and yamraaj. This conversation pretty much explains the meaning of life to everyone, including the audience.  

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