Ipshita Chakraborty Singh Interview
Ipshita Chakraborty Singh is a theatre and film actress. She has studied at National School of Drama (NSD) and worked in acclaimed theatre productions. She talks about how she approaches her professional and personal life.

 By Tarun Agarwal

What is more important to you - theatre or films?
To me theatre comes first but I also keep my commitments. Those who struggle between the two actually don't know the importance of making a commitment.

How different was your experience working for films as compared to working in theatre?
I have been lucky that I've done films which followed a process similar to theatre. For example, during Bhonsle we had rehearsals, workshops and character-building process before the shoot. It was similar to the process we follow in theatre. Usually on films, what I have often come across, one only does script reading.

After HUNKARO, what are the secret plans of your theatre group?
No plans as such. Pandemic has changed everything and I think planning of any sort should be avoided at this stage. We do have plans to work on the Rajasthani language, culture, new scripts and stories. HUNKARO has just been released and it is being received well by the viewers. So nothing new for now.

How do you start a play?
Only when there is enough money in Ujaagar's account do we start to conceive a new play. There must be enough funds for us to be able to put up rehearsals of the new project for a month and then plan at least the first few shows of the play. It may so happen that either of the two founders may deposit money we earn in Ujaagar's account.

How would you like to inspire artistes who have been affected by the lull period post pandemic?
Well, I myself went through a lull period during the pandemic. For artists it is a fight and a life-long struggle. Even if one becomes successful, one has to struggle. Vijay Tendulkar, Badal Sarkar or Van Gogh - all have had to face their respective challenges in their lifetime. One has to be grounded and patient in their artistic journey. Whoever decides to come to Mumbai must prepare oneself mentally to work hard and fight. I believe you do not select the theatre, it is the theatre that selects you.

What is your daily routine like when you are not involved in a play or a film?
I read a lot and I love listening to music. And The Mountains Echoed, is my favourite book.

Actors in order to handle their work find it difficult to settle or get married. But you have already taken that step in your life. What would you like to say about it?
I cannot guide others on this but for me it has been a beautiful journey. I did go through my own ups and downs but I am very lucky to have a partner (Ajeet Singh Palawat) who is my friend, and a critic and is extremely helpful. I am fortunate that my husband supports me. As such we live quite a comfortable life. We know what our aim is and we just work towards our goals. It's simple.

What do you suggest to aspiring artists who do not have any formal training?
I would say to keep the momentum alive and not to stop. It is important to keep networking. It is very important to watch plays and even spend some time and money in doing so. Just like we also watch films to learn film-making. I understand it may affect one's pockets but one can choose an affordable play in an independent venue. I am sure it is much better as an actor to make that investment than wasting money on unnecessary things. This is also something I follow.

(*Tarun Agarwal is the author of Hope Factory: Business Ideas For Everyone and has directed a short film, Honesty Weds Dishonesty)

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