With his last play, Blame It On Yashraj (BIOY), theatre producer Ashvin Gidwani brought together two things Indians love — Bollywood and weddings. The formula worked, and the play was well-received in the city. Now, with his brand new production, Scent Of A Man (SOAM), Gidwani will turn director for the first time. What’s more, this time, the story deals with another universally relatable subject — love.
“I have taken two relationships where both couples have crossed the point of complacency and become habituated to each other,” says Gidwani. Ask him how different it is from his previous production and he says, “BIOY is more of a family entertainer, while SOAM has the scope to entertain both audiences: those who have fallen in love for the first time and those who have been in long-term relationships. It is about modern couples and their attitudes towards relationships.”
Gidwani clearly wants his plays to focus on the topics that people can relate to. No wonder then in BIOY, he packs wholesome entertainment with theatrics, song-and-dance and Bollywood-inspired drama. In Vir Das-starrer History Of India Virritten audiences get to be part of a laugh riot that takes them back through almost everything the country has seen.
But with SOAM, he has an added responsibility of being the director as well. “Producing has always been for commercial reasons while direction has been for pleasure. The experience has been exhilarating, especially working with a great team (Ash Chandler, Suchitra Pillai, Bhavna Pani and Deven Khote), a superb writer and assistant director (Ivan Rodrigues) and my crew.
With the city’s theatre scene flourishing does he think that youngsters have a chance at making a career in it? “Without institutional and government support it’s impossible to make a full-time career in theatre. The west has made a business solution out of theatre but it always had the support and backing of their governments who believed it to be a part of their culture.,” feels Gidwani.
Scent Of A Man will be staged at the Tata Theatre, NCPA on November 10, 7 pm