‘Theatre is one of the greatest mediums of expression, a comprehensive art, which has other finer arts of music, dance, literature and poetry as its constituents. An instrument of social change, theatre too had been subject to transformation with changing times and contemporary sensibility conditioned by the cultural milieu and lifestyle of people,” observed acclaimed thespian, Dr Anuradha Kapur — a senior professor at the National School of Drama (NSD), New Delhi. In city on Friday with versatile Bollywood actor Seema Biswas for staging the play, Jivito Mrito, at Chandigarh Theatre Festival, the ladies shared their impassioned love for theatre.
Dr Anuradha Kapur said that over the years, more and more youngsters have shown keen interest in the art form of theatre. Expressing her concern, however, over the level of literary creations, playwriting to be precise, Dr Kapur said, “We lack the elegance of the ’60s. There has to be a perfect collaboration and synchronisation between writers, actors and directors for a better outcome.”
“We organised art appreciation and playwriting workshops in Delhi and Manipur, which received a good response, but theatre lovers showed abundant interest in our workshop for teaching actors,” she added.
Talking about the education at NSD and the mushrooming of such institutions in the private sector, Dr Kapur said, “It is indeed encouraging to see that theatre is making its presence felt, but the functioning of such private institutes should be at par with the NSD, which is the centre of multidimensional excellence. Earlier, students thought of only two options, to be an actor or director. But, thanks to the spurt of commercial activities in the TV and film industry, more varied options in production and costume designing, makeup, technical areas such as lighting and more have come up, making theatre a complete art form.”
Recalling her pioneering role in Bandit Queen, and many such acclaimed, complex roles, Biswas claimed that doing complex roles in films or theatre attributes to rare experiences, opportunity and recognition. “Likewise, what Vidya Balan has done in the Dirty Picture is a role of the character. As for me, I am a director’s actor on screen and on stage. I have learnt a lot from my director, Anuradha Kapur, and she is indeed an institution in herself. I rarely take the liberty to tamper with my role or improvise on stage, but within a certain permissible limit, I do,” she said.
“When I do not have a film at hand, I love to indulge in theatre with a devout devotion. Films, however, have given me a lot, especially the directors, and the viewers who applauded my work without even a spec of glamour in my roles,” she added.