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Kamya Panjabi on her debut play: Jab audience response mila, toh khushi ke ansoo aye

The actor who has worked in television and films says she found a new learning school in theatre. The journey was tough for her, but worth it.

tv Updated: Jun 29, 2019 15:34 IST
Henna Rakheja
Henna Rakheja
Hindustan Times
Kamya Panjabi,Theatre,Pajama Party
Actor Kamya Panjabi has now forayed into theatre, with a play titled Pajama Party by The Films and Theatre Society.

“Theatre is a kick, a nasha that every actor should experience,” says actor Kamya Panjabi, who is all set to perform her debut play Pajama Party in Delhi. Having been an actor for about 15 years, Kamya gave a shot to theatre only recently. And when she performed on the stage in Mumbai, the response of the audience was just overwhelming. “Jab mujhe audience response mila, toh woh khushi ke aansoo aaye jo kabhi nahin aaye the,” says the 39-year-old.

TV kept her occupied

The reason for her tears of joy was the catharsis that followed after the hard work she had put in for the performance. “Maine kadi mehnat ki hai,” says the actor, who is presently playing the mother-in-law of a transwoman in a prime time TV daily.

“I used to reach for rehearsals at around 10pm and practice till midnight, and finally go home and sleep by 1am to wake at 7 the next morning. I followed this routine for about a month and a half.”

Kamya shares that she got a lot of offers for plays earlier but refused them. “I had no time because being part of a daily soap it’s difficult to rehearse for theatre when you are already shooting 9 to 9. And I’m a single mother so mujhe apni beti ko bhi time dena hota hai... I used to reach for rehearsals at around 10pm and practice till midnight, and finally go home and sleep by 1am to wake at 7 the next morning. I followed this routine for about a month and a half. Halat kharab ho gayi thi... I knew theatre would take a lot of time, but when I heard the concept from Atul ji (Atul Satya Koushik, director of the play) I couldn’t say no.”

TV v/s Theatre

Kamya plays one of the four girls in the satire about women empowerment. Four friends gather for the titular pajama party at the place of one of them who lives there with her boyfriend.

Even if rehearsing for this involved a fair share of sweating blood, it wasn’t sans fun. “Theatre is a totally different medium, and there’s so much to learn here. Kabhi koi actor dialogue improvise kar deta tha toh our director used to say, ‘Nahin, maine yeh likha hai’, aur hum kehte they, ‘Haan sir, badhiya likha hai, yehi bola jayega’. Hum actor hain na, aadat hoti hai improvise karne ki,” Kamya recalls, laughing.

“What you do in television is so easy, koi bhi kar lega. Pachason retake ho jate hain. Director apko karke dikha deta hai, editor apka kaam behtarein bana deta hai, so you don’t have to worry. But in theatre, there are no retakes. Agar audience mein kisi ka phone baj gaya ya kisi ne khas diya, you still have to continue,” adds Kamya.

Impact of Satish Kaushik’s stage performance
Having rehearsed and performed it adeptly, Kamya says she had always thought that her theatre debut will be with an impactful character. “Around 15-17 years back, I watched Satish Kaushik ji perform in the play Salesman Ramlal. That is the only play I ever saw in my life, and felt it was a brilliant show! I feel aap mein utni taakat honi chahiye ki aap do ghante perform karke audience ko hasa bhi sakein aur rula bhi sakein. Tab maine socha ki kabhi theare karungi toh aisa kuch solid wala karungi! Agar theatre se meri kuch yaadein hai to vohi Salesman Ramlal ki wajah se… Kabhi Satish ji se akele milungi toh unke paer pad lungi [If I ever meet Satish Kaushik, I will touch his feet].”
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Arre yeh dekho mujhe kya mila 😁 #poppins

A post shared by Kamya Panjabi (@panjabikamya) on

Dilli ka dhaba on to-do list

But it isn’t just the play that’s on her mind. “I’m a foodie. I love pani puri, and baarish mein I love street food such as vada pao, samosa and even Chinese. But whenever I’ve travelled to Delhi for work, yehi hua ki aao, shoot karo aur chale jaao. Is baar humne ye plan kiya hai ki hum dhabe pe jayenge aur street food bhi khayenge. I have taken two days off from my TV shoot, and have told them ki main Dilli ja rahi hun aur do din ruk kar aungi. I’m going to explore Dilli food for sure!”

  • What: Pajama Party
  • Where: Shri Ram Centre, 4, Safdar Hashmi Marg
  • When: June 29
  • Timing: 4pm and 7pm
  • Nearest Metro Station: Mandi House on Blue and Violet Lines

Interact with the author on Twitter/@HennaRakheja

First Published: Jun 29, 2019 15:30 IST