Alumni connect: Garware college opened a new world in front of me says, Dhanashree Hebilkar, stage actor

Hindustan Times, Pune | By
Mar 29, 2019 04:44 PM IST

Heblikar has created a unique style for herself in the world of theatre

Dhanashree Heblikar, 26, hails from Dharwad in Karnataka and is the great granddaughter of Huilgol Narayana Rao, a popular playwright in the modern Kannada literature and a freedom fighter. Heblikar has created a unique style for herself in the world of theatre.

Dhanashree Heblikar said she is working on a solo musical based on Mira Bai.(Pratham Gokhale/HT Photo)
Dhanashree Heblikar said she is working on a solo musical based on Mira Bai.(Pratham Gokhale/HT Photo)

Tell us about educational background?

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I completed bachelor’s in Commerce from Garware College of Commerce in 2012. I studied the Company Secretary Course and Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from DES Ferguson Law College in 2018. My parents would always stress on the importance of education. At a very young age, I discovered that I want to make a mark in arts, but I had to choose B Com and Law. The two courses have been so helpful giving me an all-round exposure which I use in theatre.

What drove you to choose this career path?

I studied in Hindustan Antibiotics School, Pimpri. The school identified the potential in me and sent me to many prestigious elocution, vocal and theatre-related competitions. I kept winning every competition that I participated in but at that time, it did not sink in. When I stepped into Garware college, a whole new world of essay, writing, elocution, theatre and music opened in front of me. The college encourages such activities in the campus. The professors guided us in these creative areas, apart from academics.

Give us insights about your career journey

I co-founded Swatantra Theatre in year 2006 with Abhijeet Choudhary and Yuwaraj Shah as I was always determined to experiment different forms and different aspects of theatre. Slowly and steadily, we started working on that line. Today we are not only working in the area of performance but street theatre, playback theatre, children theatre and we are now a well-recognised training academy. Many actors who passed out from Swatantra are doing well in television serials, films , Webseries and are also drama Teachers in schools.

When we started, people discouraged us saying Pune is a Marathi dominant city and Hindi theatre won’t be appreciated. Dr Shriram Lagoo, theatre veteran, came and showered his blessings and there is no looking back after that. Audience started appreciating the passion and precision of our work. We took up the cause of social issues through street theatre and reached out to people. We are empowering many children through our training programme for the disabled and mentally retarded.

How has your career graph been? The highs and lows...

The initial rejection, when the cast of our play was more than the audience, was the low. Nevertheless self motivation helped me wade through this phase. Last year I won the best actress award for theatre from the Maharashtra state government and that was a high. Also, this year I was invited to make a presentation in the UK parliament about our work in the community theatre in a research-based project.

Please tell us about your upcoming/current project?

Currently we are working on making India’s first community theatre with the people from the slums of Hadapsar. We are working on two big Theatre Productions, Tughlaq and Jab Raigad Jaag Utha. I am working on a solo musical based on Mira Bai.

What are your future plans?

During my recent UK visit,I had the opportunity to visit Curve Theatre in Leicester and National Theatre in London. In both the spaces, I was so emotionally touched, looking at the seating spaces, performance spaces, and technical support. Moreover, like we have movie shows running in multiplexes, every little theatre group there has theatre plays running one after the other and was flooded with people. I really want to work to bring glory to theatre and create value in the lives of people. The main purpose of any performing art is to touch people’s lives. If we achieve that; it will bring satisfaction.

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