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Janmashtami: This theatre actor has been portraying Lord Krishna for 15 years

A Delhi-based theatre artist, Ashutosh Tarate, who has been portraying Lord Krishna in various productions says he reads the Bhagavad Gita and doesn’t smoke or drink in real life.

delhi Updated: Aug 14, 2017 11:49 IST
Naina Arora
Naina Arora
Hindustan Times
Krishna Janmashtami,Theatre,Artist
Artist Ashutosh Tarate, says playing the role of Lord Krishna is a responsibility bestowed on him by God.

Theatre artist Ashutosh Tarate says, “I feel, I’m chosen by Him.” The 32-year-old has been portraying Lord Krishna, in various productions, since the age of 17. And it’s not just in Delhi but across India that Ashutosh dons the role of Lord Krishna.

“I feel fortunate to enact Lord Krishna, as I feel that it’s my duty to reach out to the masses, and educate them on the message of Bhagavad Gita.” — Ashutosh Tarate, actor

To enact to the best of his abilities, Tarate reads Bhagavad Gita, and has even learnt Sanskrit to understand the scriptures. “It’s important to read the scriptures, as your consciousness should be on that level, when you play the lord. It’s not how a TV actor does it — ki aapne mukut pehen liya, make-up kiya, dialogue bola aur ho gaya. (It’s not how TV actors do it by putting on make-up and crown, and deliver dialogues dramatically). Even while putting on my make-up, I listen to Dashavatar Stotra, which describes the 10 avatars of the lord. Tab jab make-up chadta hai toh chehre ke haav-bhaav change hote hain (That’s why when the make-up is put on, the facial expressions change). Every time I take to the stage, I feel the lord comes within me and helps me get the work done. Krishna means Bhagavad Gita. I feel fortunate to enact Krishna as I feel it’s my duty to reach out to the masses and educate them about the message of Bhagavad Gita,” he says.

Ashutosh (L), with an actor portraying Duryodhana, rehearses ahead of a performance.

Born in Mumbai, Ashutosh, shifted to Delhi in 2007 to refine his skills in theatre and visit the holy places near the Capital. “I thought I’d stay in Delhi to learn theatre and ensure that my pronunciation of the shlokas is appropriate for the role. Moreover, Vrindavan is very near to Delhi, so I can go there and even visit places such as Dwarka (Gujarat), Gaya and Badrinath,” he adds.

“There is no bigger storyteller, artist and game changer than Krishna. It become difficult to lead a normal life once you read the deep shlokas of the Bhagavad Gita. I follow all ethics — I don’t smoke or drink.” — Ashutosh Tarate

Portraying Krishna, for a decade and a half, has altered the actor’s lifestyle, too. “Krishna se bada kathakar, kalakar, aur yug pravartak koi nahi hai. (There is no bigger storyteller, artist and game changer than Krishna). Having read the shlokas from the Bhagavad Gita, normal life mein jeena bada khatin ho jaata hai (It become difficult to lead a normal life once you read the deep shlokas of the Bhagavad Gita). I follow all ethics — I don’t smoke or drink either,” he says.

Ask him about the reactions he receives from his audiences, and Tarate recalls a shloka from Gita: “Avajānanti māṁ mūḍhā, mānuṣīṁ tanum āśritam, paraṁ bhāvam ajānanto, mama bhūta-maheśvaram. It translates to — Fools deride me when I descend in the human form. They do not know my transcendental nature... The demons never took Krishna as God, but the devotees knew he was a God. While there are those who love what I do and greet me with ‘Dwarkadheesh, kasie ho?’; some don’t understand and say Pata nahi kya kar raha hai (Don’t know what is he doing).”

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First Published: Aug 14, 2017 11:35 IST