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Saturday, Sep 21, 2019

Theatre keeps me confident: Neil Bhoopalam

Neil Bhoopalam is glad he grabbed the opportunity to act on stage when he was 19, as theatre has helped him a lot in his career

art-and-culture Updated: Aug 29, 2018 15:24 IST
Anjali Shetty
Anjali Shetty
Hindustan Times, Pune
Actor Neil Bhoopalam will be performing Rajat Kapoor’s Hamlet - The Clown Prince in Pune on September 1
Actor Neil Bhoopalam will be performing Rajat Kapoor’s Hamlet - The Clown Prince in Pune on September 1

Neil Bhoopalam has had a rather interesting journey so far. The Shaitan actor (2011) has worked as a video jockey, experimented with theatre, appeared on television series, and also in Bollywood films. The actor, however says he owes his success to the opportunities that came in after he began acting in stage plays. Neil says, “I got into theatre because of the opportunities that came my way. I won’t say I chose theatre, because I truly believe it chose me. I was all of 19 and wanted to make the most of my time and work. I also realised that you’re always a performer irrespective of whether you’re on a stage or on a film set. Theatre opened avenues for me and people started seeing my work. It helped me figure out what I wanted.”

The NH10 (2015) actor adds that the stage keeps him alert and has helped him learn to take directions and follow instructions. “Theatre keeps me confident. It gives you a reality check due to the live audience. Also, I believe there is no better focus group than a live audience. I have also learnt how to portray a character better on-screen, thanks to being on stage,” the actor says.

This year marks the tenth year of actor-writer-director Rajat Kapoor’s Hamlet - The Clown Prince, in which Neil plays Fido and shares the stage with co-actors Kalki Koechlin, Vinay Pathak, Amit Das, and others. “We are a family now. When you keep doing something over and over, you have the power of repetition. It helps you find new things and make the most of it. You can always find value in such situations,” Neil says.

Neil Bhoopalam in Rajat Kapoor’s Hamlet - The Clown Prince
Neil Bhoopalam in Rajat Kapoor’s Hamlet - The Clown Prince

Neil feels fortunate that he got the chance to work with Kapoor. “Rajat has given me tremendous confidence. I learnt from him that it is the actor’s responsibility to try and offer to the director a different way to deliver something every time. Then it is up to the director to decide what to keep and what to eliminate. Some directors are crystal clear about what they want, but some like to have inputs from the actors. I have learnt to keep paying attention from him. He is calm, clear and very specific; it is a pleasure to work with him,” he says.

When asked about how the current state of theatre and artistes in the country hasn’t seen much improvement, the actor says, “Sadly, it has always been a struggle and nothing much has changed. I know for a fact that there is so much new technology coming in. However, we are unable to incorporate it, because of a lack of infrastructure and expert technicians. It is sad that despite being global citizens, we have not been able to take theatre in our country forwards. The business of theatre needs to be looked into. I am not saying I have answers and solutions to the problem, but we need to at least come together and attempt to do something about it.”

Neil has been to Pune for shows and he finds the city’s audience to be very culture-oriented and intelligent. “I haven’t caught any Marathi plays, but I am aware of the rich and varied culture of the city. I look forward to coming down every time,” he says.

More Info:

What: Hamlet - The Clown Prince

Where: Nehru Memorial  Hall, Camp

When: September 1, 5pm

First Published: Aug 29, 2018 15:24 IST