Collating an admirable career in myriad genres of performing arts, including theatre, films and the small screen, Arundhati Nag is a versatile artist whose genius spells magic in other fields as well.
Hailed as an expert in multilingual theatre with a consummate command on six languages, this south Indian film actress has had memorable roles to her credit, especially in outstanding Hindi films such as Paa. In city to stage her ‘dream play’, Bikhre Bimb, at the ongoing Chandigarh Theatre Festival being held at Tagore Theatre, Arundhati shares views about her impassioned and first love — promotion of theatre.
“With four decades of devout devotion to theatre, I am not just a drama artist, I religiously practice and promote it. With concerted efforts of my guru and husband, we established our dream project, Ranga Shakara Theatre, at Bangalore, which is running to full house for my own, professional and amateur groups. We charge nominal rates to encourage small theatre groups without any commercial considerations. Theatre has given me a lot to hold,” she says.
However, films, says the Sangeet Natak Akademy awardee (2008), are a larger canvas with a greater reach. Arundhati played important roles in Kannad, Tamil, Marathi and Malaylam films, and had been awarded the Best Supporting Actor award in 2005 by Star Screen and won a national film award for Best Supporting Actress for Paa, in 2010.
“It was due to my passion for theatre that great film icons such as Amitabh (Bachchan) ji and Shah Rukh (Khan) sahib gave me special regard as I worked with them in close association. It is encouraging to see the return of the masses to theatre, who were fed up with poor quality programmes on TV.” Ask her about her liking from amongst her multilingual repertory, and she hits back, saying it is Hindi, much to the surprise and delight of many.
Her play, claims Arundhati, is her dream role, “I am emotionally involved in it because it is the creation of Girish Karnad, my mentor.”
In her spare time, she listens to Hindustani and Carnatic classical music, reads books and cooks.