After drawing praise for his film debut in Shaitan, Gulshan Devaiah will be seen on stage tonight, performing in a play he has been associated with for six years.
Bangalore-based group, Harami Theatre is bringing their award-winning play, Butter and Mashed Banana back to the city after a series of performances in 2006. The play, starring Devaiah and two others, is a hilarious take on freedom of speech in the country.
When asked about his role, Devaiah laughs, "You'll see three half-naked guys jumping around the stage. There are three characters - A, B and C. We refer to them by alphabets because they don't really have names. B, the protagonist, pretty much plays himself, while A and C, one of which is me, take turns playing different characters. It's a very unconventional play, with no sets and exits. There's no lighting design either."
Ajay Krishnan, writer and director of the play, cites his inspiration behind this unique idea as the 2004 film, Girlfriend.
"A friend got me thinking when he remarked that protests against the film were coming from the left as well as right ends of the spectrum, and for the first time, they were united in opposing something. While the left claimed that the depiction of lesbianism was stereotypical, the right was simply opposed to showing that kind of content on screen."
The script and play have constantly evolved since then, and Krishnan believes his play makes for interesting viewing because the issue of censorship is relevant even today. "Someone or the other is always being stifled," he reasons.
Meanwhile, Devaiah says, "I do like films more than acting in theatre, but theatre's my teacher, and I'll never completely rule it out. When I was 10 years old, I just wanted to see my face on a billboard. But as I started doing theatre, I realised that it gave me a real sense of satisfaction. I feel like I was born to act."