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Whatsapp romance is not romance, says actor Manav Kaul

Actor-playwright Manav Kaul talks about his play Chuhal, love in pre-technology times, and getting back to theatre, after a decade.

art and culture Updated: Jan 14, 2017 07:45 IST
Nikita Saxena
Nikita Saxena
Hindustan Times
Manav Kaul,Chuhal,Sugandha Garg
Manav Kaul as Sudhir and Sugandha Garg as Aarti in Kaul’s Chuhal.

As technology has invaded our lives, the meaning of love and relationships has changed. Actor-playwright Manav Kaul’s play Chuhal explores love,relationships and marriages set in the times when there were no mobiles or instant messaging applications. The play stars Manav Kaul as Sudhir and actor Sugandha Garg as Aarti.

“Chuhal is a light romantic comedy play set in a small town. It is the story of two people who fall in love and clash because they have different views on whether they want to stay together or not,” says Kaul.

“It shows how we treat a woman in our society, we don’t even take her opinion on whether she wants to get married or not.”

The plot revolves around Sudhir, a simple guy who wants to get married, and Aarti, an independent free thinking girl, who does not believe in the idea of marriage. Talking about the topic, Kaul says that the changing trends in marriage inspired him to make this play. He adds, “A lot of people stay single by choice nowadays and they don’t want to get married. The protagonist is a woman who does not mind falling in love but does not want to get married. It shows how we treat women in our society, we don’t even take her opinion on whether she wants to get married or not. Just because she is in love does not mean she wants to get married.”

Kaul explores the concept of marriage and love in the play.

Set in 1994, Kaul’s play explores romance in pre-technology days. “I feel that I can only write romance in pre-mobile days. Whatsapp romance is not romance, that just kills it. The whole idea of sending letters and waiting for a response is so amazing to me. So my story is set in times where these instant messaging applications did not exist,” he says.

I hate the idea of giving messages through a play or a movie, and I don’t like people who give messages.

So, is Kaul trying to give a message through the play? “I hate the idea of giving messages through a play or a movie, and I don’t like people who give messages through them. I just want to tell the story of two people who are single by choice, and then go home,” says the actor who was seen in the film CityLights (2014). “How many messages do people want? There are so many books that give messages, and so do our religions. Is anyone following them?”

With Chuhal, the actor returns to the stage a decade later, and the experience is “amazing”, he says. “I stopped acting in 2002 and started writing and directing plays. I rediscovered acting in 2013 with the film Kai Po Che and I felt that I should get back to it. So, when I was writing and directing this play, I thought it was a good way to get back to acting as I trusted the team,” he adds.

For those who are wondering what the term Chuhal means, Kaul explains, “The term refers to light banter that two people indulge in. It is chuhal that is taking place between Sudhir and Aarti, and in that process they fall in love.”

Catch It Live
  • What: Chuhal
  • Where: Sri Sathya Sai auditorium, Lodhi Road
  • When: January 15
  • Timings: 4pm and 6.30pm
  • Nearest Metro Station: Jawahar Lal Nehru on Violet line

First Published: Jan 13, 2017 18:06 IST