Avatar Gill
While most people may associate Avatar Gill with Mahesh Bhatt films like Sir, Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahin, etc., they are likely to forget that he started his acting career on stage. Even today his association with the theatre continues because of his long drawn relationship with the Indian Peopleís Theatre Association (IPTA). Gillís affair with the stage started while he was a student at Khalsa College at Kings Circle in Mumbai. Soon he was introduced to IPTA wherein he came to be recognized as an actor. He makes no bones about the fact that theatre does not obviously support his lifestyle, as does the income from films and tele-serials. Yet his continuous association with IPTA proves that theatre is an integral part of his life but I wonder if he agrees with this view himself or not!

 Deepa Punjani

Which is the most memorable role you have played on stage so far and why?
The role that I play in the play- KASHMAKASH. It wasnít easy for me to get under the skin of the character- Chandrakant for I am in every way unlike him. It took me a while to identify with the character I was supposed to play. However, I feel I have to yet play my most memorable part. I had acted in a tele-serial called Shatranj by Raman Kumar in which I was playing a don who although powerful had his own human fears and desires to combat. I would love to play such a role for the stage.

What factors do you think are responsible for the lack of a vibrant Hindi theatre in the city?
First of all, Hindi theatre from time immemorial has lead a precarious existence. Cinema being popular and affordable, people preferred watching a film as against seeing a play. Even today, the same story more or less continues although there is a lot happening in Hindi theatre today; at least commercially. I also think Prithvi theatre has done a very good job. It has been largely instrumental in promoting Hindi theatre groups like ours, Yatri, Ekjute and Ank.

Which is the best production you have seen till date and why?
Khel, which had Paresh Rawal and Naseeruddin Shah acting together. I am a great fan of both Paresh and Naseer.

What do you make of young, experimental Hindi theatre groups like Aranya?
I am sorry but I cannot answer this question, as I havenít seen any of their productions. Much as I would like to see other plays more often, I donít have the time to favour me.

Youíve had a long, protracted relationship with IPTAÖ
Yes, I have. I continue to do plays with IPTA is because I enjoy doing theatre and share an emotional bond with the group. Shatranj Ke Mohre, which is one of IPTAís longest, running plays, has seen many theatre people become stalwarts in their right. I have been playing the character of Jagannath since many years in this play. Soon we will be performing the play Kashmakash too at Arundati Nagís new theatre in Bangalore. Arundati Nag herself has had a sustained relationship with IPTA.

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