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Simply Sanjana

Shashi Kapoor?s daughter has every reason to be proud as Prithvi Theatre has completed 28 yrs, writes Priyanka Sinha.

india Updated: Nov 04, 2006 03:52 IST

Sanjana Kapoor is a woman in love. “I’m totally happy and in love...Each day I fall even more madly in love with my baby,” she says breaking into full-throated laughter.

It’s the sort of thing you don’t expect Sanjana to wax eloquent about, zealous as she is about guarding her personal life. But it’s that time of the year — Prithvi Festival just opened in Mumbai — when she morphs into a media darling as though she were essaying a lead role in a theatrical extravaganza.

And she has reason to be proud—Prithvi Theatre, started by her grandfather, has completed 28 years. Its silver jubilee celebrated three years ago was, she says, a turning point.

Talk about her in Mumbai’s theatre circles and it is unlikely that you’ll hear anything that is less than complimentary. Says personal friend Atul Kumar of The Company Theatre: “She is as lovely and fabulous as people think she is. It’s sad that she has moved to Delhi after her marriage because we miss her at Prithvi.

”Kumar says he has, “been working with her on various theatre projects and watching her take theatre in India places. She has put Prithvi and Indian theatre on the world map.”

Theatre personality Arundhati Nag, who founded the famous Rang Sankara in Bangalore, has seen Sanjana grow up into an energetic young woman passionate about theatre. “She possesses a certain madness about theatre which the other Kapoor children lack.

While Prithvi was started by her grandfather and then run by her mother, Jennifer, Sanjana has infused an energy into the festival that is unique. It is amazing to see her feed her son while address a conference for the festival and yet be warm enough to interact with everyone around.”

But Sanjana refuses to take credit for what she perceives as just a continuation of a movement started by her grandfather and subsequently run by her parents, brother Kunal and friends. However, Prithvi Theatre occupies a position of prominence in India’s theatre space—actors from across the country hope to perform at Prithvi which boasts of over 400 performances a year.

In Mumbai, it is the hub of cultural activities despite its location in suburban Juhu, a reasonable distance from NCPA where a considerable chunk of English theatre takes place. And that’s the other difference that has flourished under Sanjana—plays in Indian languages.

This year it is a presentation by Happenings, a Kolkata-based cultural group’s multilingual plays on Tagore that is the highlight of the Prithvi festival.

Orchestrating the activities at Prithvi leaves the 39-year-old who has trained in Bharatnatyam and studied theatre at New York’s Herbert Berghoff Studio, with little time to step on to the stage herself.

She admits that she would love to act on stage-Bollywood is out (she played the lead in Hero Hiralal with Naseeruddin Shah) but there’s only so much time in a day.

She has resigned herself to dividing time between Prithvi and her child. “I go swimming with Hamir…This two-month period when the festival is on is the only time when I don’t spend enough time with him,” she says.

Motherhood, according to her has made her “slightly more tolerable to be with.” For the Prithvi lady, all the world’s a stage.

First Published: Nov 04, 2006 03:52 IST