Ashok Pandey
Ashok Pandey started his theatre journey in 2004 and has completed 19 years now. He is a huge fan of late Vijay Tendulkar, and now he is directing KHAAMOSH! ADAALAT JAARI HAI which is the Hindi adaptation of the Marathi play SHANTATA! COURT CHALU AAHE! Team Mumbai Theatre Guide spoke with director Ashok Pandey about KHAAMOSH! ADAALAT JAARI HAI.!

 By MTG editorial

How did you come into the theatre?
I would say it was not an accident, nor were there any plans to come into the theatre, but I would say it was a search (Ek Talaash Thi). There was an anxiety in me, but I don't know what that anxiety was. I live in Allahabad, far from the city, and I have done I used to come home 2-3 days a week as I was studying there. I was thinking about doing IAS post-graduation, but when I was in my second year, I thought I wouldn't be able to do IAS, but I still wanted to do something. So, I shared about the same with my friend, to whom he insisted on visiting Western Drama Teacher Dr. Sachin Tiwari. So, I went there and met Dr. Tiwari, and from there, my journey in theatre started.

Tell us something about KHAAMOSH!!! ADAALAT JAARI HAI...
What do I say about KHAAMOSH! ADAALAT JAARI HAI? Sometimes, I feel shock as well. No doubt, I am a huge Vijay Tendulkar fan, and this is my third play as a director. Before that, I completed Sakharam Binder and BABY. I still cannot believe where the script comes from. The way writers think about the script is incredible. When you read or watch the play, it's totally different. There's a lady named Berade, and there are a few other play characters who are upset with her because of her expression. So, they filed the wrong complaint against Berade, and what happens next is the story.

Why did you choose to direct KHAAMOSH! ADAALAT JAARI HAI?
The reason for directing KHAAMOSH! ADAALAT JAARI HAI is that I want to give a message with the help of the play. And I keep on searching for a good script, and it comes in Vijay Tendulkar's or Mohan Rakesh's book. I have already done two plays before this (SAKHARAM BINDER and BEBI). I would say that I have started understanding Vijay Tendulkar's script. I would love to do meaningful things as I have many things to say and I feel good about sharing good things with the audience, as I saw in KHAAMOSH! So, I decided to direct this play.

Share with us your experience working with all the casts of the play.
I still remember when I was reading the script of KHAAMOSH! ADAALAT JAARI HAI for the very first time in front of the cast, and I saw the excitement in all their faces. And when it comes to Late Vijay Tendulkar's script, it's a blessing for me to direct the play in Hindi, though the play was originally written in Marathi. Sometimes, it feels difficult to translate some of the words in different languages. I also spoke about this with the cast, but they all believed me when I said we just needed some time as we didn't want to change a single word in English; otherwise, there was no use in doing a Hindi play. Then I also got satisfied with their answers, as we did have two months' time for rehearsals. So, we started working on it. Though KHAAMOSH! ADAALAT JAARI HAI is not at all a simple play, the characters in the play are also complex and not that simple. It was difficult to understand the complexity of the play, and they were not able to relate as well as KHAMOSH! ADAALAT JAARI HAI is a courtroom drama. But later on, all the artists started understanding the complexity of the play and the relationships among all the characters.

All I can say is that we all faced difficulties during the rehearsals before. I also felt that I may have taken a wrong decision to direct this play, but all the actors made me believe that they would fit into their respective characters, which they did with all their dedication and hard work, which went well.

Any plans to perform this play all over India?
Each director or actor wishes their plays to be witnessed by people all over the world, but if not the world, then I would at least say to witness the play in Mumbai. But yes, if possible, I would love for this play to be witnessed all over India.

What's theatre for you, and what's the learning?
I have been working in theatre for the last 18–19 years, and I am living because of theatre only. I had a feeling that whenever I direct or act as an artist, be it in a rehearsal or live performance, I am totally different. By different means, I do feel happiness and completeness while performing on stage or directing the play.

When it comes to learning, I started understanding and learning the word "live" right from the beginning. I also came to know the meaning of human relationships and how they work. The way of thinking has been changed in multiple ways, and that's only because of theatre. I do direct all the actors, but my way of directing is totally different for each actor. How are we similar and how are we dissimilar? I am still learning and will learn more and more in the future because learning has no ends. I just think this work process goes on and on, and I wish to be a student of theatre forever.

Any other projects coming up as a director?
Yes, I will resume working for ADHE ADHURE in a couple of months. And this is all because of the audience's love and requests. I had done 30 shows in Mumbai, all of which were houseful, and I definitely would love to have the same in the future also.

What's your advice to newcomers in the theatre?
What can I say now about theatre? Well, I am still learning. But, from my experience in the theatre, we must first maintain patience. It is not necessary to prove yourself in the theatre, but rather to stay and make it your second home. If you are looking for something, you will find it. Sometimes it happens that rehearsing is only for remembering the lines, but in actual fact, rehearsing means to bring out the character in you

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