“Now, I have to do this. Bas (this is it). I don’t know how to explain it.”
Suchitra Krishnamoorthi says she is terrified, but she cannot stop laughing. The 40-year-old actor, who rose to fame with her first film Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa (1994), in which she starred opposite Shah Rukh Khan, is making her theatre debut on September 30.
The play is named after and is largely based on her 2013 book Drama Queen and chronicles the past four to five years of her life as a single mother.
“It is probably the most daunting thing I have ever done in my life. What if I forget the lines? What if no one finds it funny?” she tells us over the phone.
Krishnamoorthi will also sing during the show, the background score for which has been composed by Parivesh Singh. The rehearsals started only a few weeks ago, when director Inaayat Ali Sami came on board. Before that, most of the actor’s time went into finalising the script, which she wrote over a period of four to six months. “I had to make the play concise, so a lot of editing was required. I went through many drafts before I thought I had something coherent to show. I struggled a lot with it, more than I thought I would,” she says.
Krishnamoorthi refuses to divulge too many details about the drama. In fact, she doesn’t need to. Her life has already been extensively covered by the media, including her divorce from film-maker Shekhar Kapur and her marriage proposal to film-maker Ram Gopal Varma.
Her book also laid bare several occurrences in her life — from her strained relationship with her demanding mother, to her tryst with stardom. While film-maker Nagesh Kukunoor and director Ken Ghosh will play her real-life love interests on stage, Suchitra Pillai will essay the role of her former psychiatrist.
Suchita’s Krishnamoorthi’s book on her life, Drama Queen, was published in 2013.
“But the play has nothing to do with my movies, marriage, fame, ambition, etc.,” the actor asserts. “It’s about the vulnerabilities a single mother faces. It is about a woman trying to stay afloat while trying to break out of her own middle-class conditioning and the moral boundaries that a girl is imprisoned by. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do [a play like] this,” adds Krishnamoorthi.
The artiste, it seems, is hoping to throw light on society’s hypocritical expectations of a girl. While her middle-class upbringing cautioned her to stay within certain moral boundaries, Krishnamoorthi says, other people around her have constantly been telling her to “get back to work”.
Her regular and blunt rebuttal to them is that rather than being successful professionally, she wants to have more babies before she hits menopause. “Can people not respect the fact that I don’t want to [run after success]? I just want to find some man who can save me,” she says. But, at the same time, the actor also doesn’t want to feel “redundant”. “It is complicated. And so, I’ve done this play in humour. You have to learn to laugh at your own insecurities. All those fears seem funny and unfounded now. But they do exist, and there’s no shame in saying that,” she says.
That is why Krishnamoorthi was craving for a creative outlet to understand her own life. “There was a restlessness that was beginning to choke me, which is why I felt I needed to do something that was beyond what I thought I was capable of. Now that Kaveri (Kapur; daughter) is older, I’m ready [to do that]. Frankly, I didn’t miss acting. I also didn’t miss stardom, at all. But I missed the creative process,” she says.
The actor wants to reclaim her place in the world. It’s an obsession, and she cannot explain it.
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