Eight years ago the superhit trio Bakul Thakkar, Surya Govle and Manisha Vora won audiences' hearts with their superlative performances in Gujarati play HALF TICKET, which is an adaptation of a successful Marathi play,KADAT NAKADAT and created a history and because of which it is touted as a Golden Play of Golden phase of theatre. And now the makers have yet again revived the play to win audiences' love. Recently, caught up with the two marvellous actors Bakul Thakkar and Surya Govle, who play twin lovable brothers in the play, in an exclusive conversation where they spoke in length about the current scenario of relationships, how the play gives an insight about it and how it will change people's perception towards relations. They also shared the idea of bringing the play back, their bonding off stage, their preparation and much more.

 By Rachana Choksi

After eight years HALF TICKET is being revived, what was the idea to bring it back again?

Bakul Thakkar: One reason is of course good drama. A good play is always in demand. And secondly it is being said that this is international year of mental health. Although I don't want to divulge much about the story and subject of HALF TICKET, but this play indirectly talks about mental health. It is about relationship between a normal human being and a mentally retarded person. The play explores the mind of the mentally retarded person, what are his desires, what are his thoughts, what are his griefs, and in what way he is way better than a normal human being in many aspects.

It is being hailed as the golden play of golden days of theatre? Can you throw some light on the golden phase of theatre?

Bakul Thakkar: Earlier there used to be traditional format of theatre where the actors used to sing, dance and perform and there used to be huge demand. Just like in Bollywood there was an era when box-office used to witness a ‘housefull' time, cinemas used to go packed houses, Gujarati dramas were also in huge demand. Gujarati dramas used to witness cent percent footfalls. And interestingly, every subject and genre be it adultery or mental health or thrillers to comedies, was lapped up by the audience. People have been enjoying Gujarati dramas for over so many years. And today we are reaping all the benefits and fruits of that golden phase. In that way HALF TICKET is a very unique play and it was successful in golden phase of theatre. And that's the reason it reminds us of that era.

While in the play you two share great and inseparable bond, tell us about your rapport off stage.
Bakul Thakkar: We share an amazing bond. We have toured together, we ate together, we have shared rooms. Though it's been eight years now, but all of us share an amazing rapport. There has been no single change in our bond. When our producer Nimesh Shah came up with the idea of reviving HALF TICKET we didn't even give it a single thought. On the contrary we were game for it at once. This play is so strong and our bonding is so great that we are revisiting HALF TICKET again. We all kept our other commitments aside just to do the play.

HALF TICKET talks about which kind of relationships and in what way it showcases the depth of a relationship?

Bakul Thakkar: Relationships are barometer or foundation of life. HALF TICKET showcases varied relationships beautifully like man-woman relationship, bromance, sibling rivalry and bonding. Moreover, how a stranger assimilates in the family and how the trio share a bond in the house is the story of HALF TICKET. How relationships witnesses ups and downs is something the audience will experience.

In an age where relationships are so fragile that they fall like nine pins with small misunderstandings, in what way HALF TICKET is giving a message to society? What can audiences take back home?

Bakul Thakkar: How much and how well audience take some learning/message back home is up to them. As much as relationships are temporary, they can be permanent as well. Today our parents are there with us or not but we are attached with them, we share an inseparable bond with them, similarly with our siblings too. Besides, from last eight years Surya, Manisha and I share a great bonding. We have formed good camaraderie. In today's time there is no focus, people have turned commitment phobic, relationships go for a toss in a very short time. In such a scenario, HALF TICKET has earnestly attempted to go into the depth of relationships, so that people can understand the importance of it and relationships become permanent like it used to be in earlier times. It tries to present how love and understanding should remain intact between different relations.

With that would it also change people's perception towards relationships?

Bakul Thakkar: Hundred percent it will change. Tell me how many people actually think or consider about the desires of mentally depressed or mentally retarded person. There are very few, a handful of selfless people who actually think about them. Rest are least bothered. But HALF TICKET will certainly give that thought to the audience. How much they will be able to implement is something we can't comment on but yes people will certainly take back home a good message about relationships.

How did you prepare for your character?

Bakul Thakkar: Surya being a method actr did a lot of homework for his part. He observed a lot of mentally retarded people, their expressions, their walking style, their talking style, the way they express their emotions he imbibed every nuance in himself so that he could enact it well. In rehearsals also, he tried enact his character in four different ways and then eventually finalised on one of the styles. Surya's preparation helped me as well as to how I should connect with the mentally retarded character and bring the chemistry out.

Surya Govle: To prepare for my role, I actually went to a school for mentally retarded/ specially abled students. I met them, observed them and put my style into it.

Why is HALF TICKET special for you?

Surya Govle: I was a backstage artiste earlier. But HALF TICKET gave me that recognition as an actor. People identify me as an actor also now. I personally love this play and it's very close to my heart.

Bakul Thakkar: Few scripts touch your hearts; some directors are really special and their work speaks volume. There are few producers who really want to do some good work apart from just minting money. Nimesh Shah also believed in the subject of HALF TICKET and went ahead with it from day one. He thought since HALF TICKET has won his heart, it will be definitely loved by its actors and audiences too. It indeed moved me and that's the reason I was game for it.

HALF TICKET has won lot of accolades in Marathi competition. Share us bit about it
Surya Govle: HALF TICKET has won awards in various departments be it lights, sounds, costumes, etc. It has won approximately 20-22 awards in different categories. It's a big honour and its still winning hearts.

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