Humble, witty and sincere, that’s Vinay Pathak for you. The Bheja Fry (2007) actor, who has regaled us with his histrionics for over 18 years now, will perform the one-man act Nothing Like Lear at the Hindustan Times Kala Ghoda Arts Festival (HTKGAF) on February 10. Based on Shakespeare’s King Lear, the play is directed by his good friend Rajat Kapoor, and has had over 100 shows. Excerpts from the interview:
How has your association with HTKGAF been?
I haven’t visited the festival since the past two years, but I have been a frequent visitor otherwise. It is one of the foremost arts festivals, which is synonymous to Mumbai. It has grown over the years, and it’s amazing to see so many young people attending the festival.
You have performed the play over a 100 times. What are some of your most memorable experiences?
We have performed all over the globe and in every corner of India. In fact, even now, we perform in different cities in India every weekend. The experience has been enjoyable each time, despite the fact that it is a one-man performance.
Your connection with the audience and their reaction culminate into an experience. It is gratifying. It’s approximately a 90-minute play. Who better than me knows that it is long. However, it is fun. Every time I act it gives birth to a [new] learning curve.
Rajat Kapoor and you have a long professional relationship. What keeps your bond strong?
Rajat and I were friends before we began working together. We saw each other through our struggles. There is a certain comfort level between us. I am comfortable failing in front of him, with him, and trying new things, and also falling on my face. We both have confidence in each other’s talents enough to say, ‘The last thing you tried was crap; try again, make it better.’
Whatever little talent we both have becomes stronger collectively. It promises more than what we could have individually. The special thing is the trust, faith and warmth we have. And more than anything else, we like each other’s company and viewpoint, even if we agree to disagree. He’s a generous friend and one of the most talented artistes, film-makers and actors that I have come across. In spite of going through so many experiences, our bond has remained genuine, which is how it should be.