I always look forward to performing in Delhi: Ila Arun
Actor-singer Ila Arun talks about her penchant for theatre, love for performing in the Capital, and her new play Peechha Karti Parchayyaiyan, an adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts.delhi Updated: Apr 07, 2017 17:59 IST
“I never get tired when I’m working,” says actor Ila Arun. She has donned several hats: actor, singer, and script-writer. But how does she manage all that? She replies, “I like to do things where I can express myself. I only need four hours of sleep.Instead of doing frivolous things, and saying ‘I’m depressed’, or how to kill time, here I keep myself so occupied, that I don’t have time.”
Her passion for theatre isn’t hidden and can be credited for adapting 10 plays till now. Ila says that she has given her life to theatre and that the experience has only made her an expert.Her latest theatre production, Peechha Karti Parchayyaiyan, is an adaptation of Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen, whom she regards as her favourite playwright.
The play based in Cooch Behar, a state inhabited by Rajput families from Nepal and Rajasthan. It focusses on how outdated traditions and repercussions come back to haunt future generations as ghosts of the past, preventing them from breaking the shackles perpetuated by their ancestors. The play deals with the issue of domestic violence and suppression of women, whose voices are silenced by the traditional societies they live in.
Having performed in Delhi at different, popular venues such as Kamani Auditorium and Shri Ram Centre, Ila says that the city holds a special place in her heart, courtesy her fond memories of theatre from the National School of Drama. “I always want to perform in Delhi. The value that Hindi and Urdu has in the north is not as much as in Mumbai. As far as Hindi is concerned, Bollywood dominates [Mumbai] much more, otherwise regional theatre, Marathi and Gujrati theatre are strong. Delhi has a wonderful audience. The people there have knowledge of literature, are educated and have been exposed to good theatre. I am really looking forward to performing at India Habitat Centre for the first time now,” says Ila, who will next be seen in the film Begum Jaan (2017).
Playing Yashodhara Baisaheb in the play, Ila has also lent her voice to two songs. Speaking on the plays, she says, “It’s a very popular play, and many women would be able to identify with it, especially in Rajasthan. It says that we don’t just inherit the properties of forefathers, but we also inherit their habits and thinking, which then follow us like ghosts. There is a need for change. I feel good that through the play, I can become the voice of women who can’t express [themselves]. It deals with how you are haunted by long-gone traditions, superstitions.”
Ila, having staged Peer Ghani in the past in Gurgaon, feels sad that she can no longer perform in Gurgaon’s Epicentre, owing to an expiration of the lease. “I am feeling very bad,” she says. “Epicentre was such a nice place. We performed twice and loved it. And the Gurgaon audience is so good; the momentum should not be broken.I really wanted to take the play to Gurgaon as well. Gurgaon very desperately needs not one but two-three theatres where around 300-500 people can come every day.”
- What: Peechha Karti Parchayyaiyan
- Where: India Habitat Centre
- When:February 19
- Timings: 4pm and 7.30pm
- Nearest Metro Station: Jor Bagh on Yellow Line