Makarand Deshpande makes a case for Hindi theatre
Sure, Hindi is more accessible in India than English. But in a play, content is the deciding fact, not language. For example, if I have to get a lower middle-class audience interested in my play, the very style of storytelling has to be different. Just writing the dialogues in Hindi will not make the cut.
Unless it is a deep philosophical monologue, language is never a hindrance. You might not understand a particular word, but in a well-written and well performed play, you will get the sense of what is being said. For example, in Sir Sir Sarla, when I say “Prem likhne mein sanshipt hai par bhoolne mein arsa lag jata hai,’ I am sure many people in the audience don’t know the meaning of ‘sanshipt’. But they understand the ‘bhoolne mein arsa lag jata hay’ part and they create some meaning of ‘sanshipt’ based on that. And they applaud! They like the sound of the word.
Having said that, every language has its own unique charm and that is why a Hindi play will have a markedly different feel than its English translation and vice-versa. Words and meters do have an impact. A well-written line in any language seldom misses its mark. The poetic richness of a dialogue makes the audience remember it. Only a Salman Khan can make bizarre dialogues like ‘Maine ek baar commitment kar di...’a hit.
Author’s Bio: Makarand Deshpande is a well-known theatre actor and director, and has played memorable roles in many Bollywood films. He founded the Ansh Theatre Group in 1993.
-As told to Ananya Ghosh
From HT Brunch, October 15, 2017
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