Nostalgia with Quasar Thakore-Padamsee, “At 22, I quit my advertising job and took up theatre full-time”

Published on Aug 12, 2022 07:14 PM IST

The actor talks about his most prized possessions, stepping in to play Nadir Khan’s part when he was 22, and his bank balance

Quasar Thakore-Padamsee at 22 (left) and at 43 (right)
Quasar Thakore-Padamsee at 22 (left) and at 43 (right)

Describe yourself as a 22-year-old.

Similar to how I am now. Maybe a little more impetuous and short-tempered. But, it was an exciting time. I was just out of college. The world was enticing and daunting altogether. 

(From left) In Three Characters Sitting in a Urinal with Rohit Bagai and Kunaal Roy Kapur in 2003
(From left) In Three Characters Sitting in a Urinal with Rohit Bagai and Kunaal Roy Kapur in 2003

Your favourite memory from that time?

We had just opened a play called All My Sons. Right before it, Nadir Khan, who was playing the protagonist, was admitted to the hospital. I had to step in to do his part. I am not a natural actor, so it was difficult. But exhilarating too.

Where were you career-wise?

At 21, I took a job in advertising, which I loved, to ‘fund’ my theatre-habit. But the job didn’t leave me with time for much else. Toral Shah, Karl Alphonso and I met for lunch. We spoke about trying to do theatre full time. Toral finished her Masters, Karl his Bachelor’s and I had taken some time off. So, we went full time.

With Toral Shah and Karl Alphonso. when all three decided to plunge into theatre full-time
With Toral Shah and Karl Alphonso. when all three decided to plunge into theatre full-time

Your biggest moment till then?

My back injury due to which I was bed-ridden for almost nine weeks. I had to learn how to walk again! But, had the injury not happened, I wouldn’t have taken time off from advertising to realise it didn’t really make me happy.

With Denzil Smith and Samir Siddiqui in Lucky Ones in 2001
With Denzil Smith and Samir Siddiqui in Lucky Ones in 2001

Your bank balance then?

I had saved a little bit from advertising, but we knew theatre was going to be a grind. So, whatever little we had, quickly disappeared. I had about 5,000 left over!

With the Thespo group in 2002
With the Thespo group in 2002

What was your focus professionally?

We staged plays, conducted workshops, and worked with corporates to ensure that our projects see the light of day. I was happy to be moving furniture or focussing lights, or even getting chai in the theatre. And I did it all.

How did that impact your mindset?

I learned a lot. Including that it was difficult. But, it never felt like work because I loved theatre so much. In some ways I’m still doing what I was doing in college. Hopefully, with more finesse. But a life in the theatre is just so rewarding, not monetarily but in other ways.

With Toral Shah and Karl Alphonso at the QTP office
With Toral Shah and Karl Alphonso at the QTP office

How was the dating scene?

My girlfriend at the time and I broke up. It took me a while to heal from that. We are still close friends but dating took a backseat.

With fellow members of QTP, a Theatre Production and Arts Management Company.
With fellow members of QTP, a Theatre Production and Arts Management Company.

Your most prized possession at that time?

It still is. My cricket cap from when I played for Singapore Under 18s. Everyone dreams of playing national-level cricket. Even though it was Singapore. And six glow tapes and a zero watt lamp my dad [late Alyque Padamsee] gave when I took up theatre full-time.

With Sukeshi Sondhi, Radhika Mital, Karl Alphonso and others from Lunch Girls cast
With Sukeshi Sondhi, Radhika Mital, Karl Alphonso and others from Lunch Girls cast

Your biggest dream at that point...?

I remember voting for the first time, and being genuinely concerned about the rise of religion in politics. I was also an atheist by then, so I was and am against religion having to do with anything other than private practice. So, naive as it was, it was about trying to be a cohesive nation. This was reflected in my work then.

From HT Brunch, August 13, 2022

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Ananya Ghosh is an assistant editor with Hindustan Times Brunch. She has 10 years of experience as a journalist having worked as a copy editor/feature writer in various publications.

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