Sharvari Lohokare Interview
Sharvari Lohokare is a Marathi actress who has appeared in several Marathi movies, TV shows and dramas, is on cloud nine as her Marathi thriller drama YOU MUST DIE, directed by Vijay Kenkre is about to complete 100 shows. Recently in an exclusive conversation with Mumbai Theatre Guide, the actress spoke in length about her play completing 100 shows, why she is scared to work with other directors after having worked with Kenkre sir, how theatre is magical in presenting any genre, why YOU MUST DIE is special to her and why every medium should encash on murder mysteries

 By Rachana Choksi

YOU MUST DIE is about to complete its 100th show. It was first staged in November 2022 and within a span of 10 months it has received fabulous response, did you expect such overwhelming response? How elated you are?

Definitely, I am highly elated. I am feeling very good because for any play to sustain these many shows it's a very big thing. It's a great achievement for the entire team. On 15 August 2023 we will be having our 100th show. The director and writer are backbone for any play. But after the first show it entirely becomes producer's onus to take the play forward. Of course, actors do play a crucial role to sustain each and every show, to relive each and every scene and each and every day is important for an actor. And we could do that because we have a beautiful team. Sometimes it happens that after 60th or 65th show there comes a stagnancy and there's nothing new to offer. But thankfully in our play it never happened. Everyone tried to bring some new ideas every time. And when someone attempts to do something new the reciprocation also becomes different, and in that way it becomes innovative. So we relived every show and were always on toes. It was like a new show with every performance.

What beyond 100 shows? How do you expect YOU MUST DIE to go further?

We are already getting good response that we had anticipated. For any play to achieve sustainability it takes time, but comparatively YOU MUST DIE has done well and still going strong.

How was it working with the multi-talented Vijay Kenkre? Was he a taskmaster?

With Vijay sir, this is my 8th consecutive play and it is really fun working with him. The best part about him is he lets you be free while performing and lets you to discover your character. He guides us so well, he makes things so simple, he never directs in a specific way, and completely flexible to work with. On the flip side, you feel scared to work with other directors because Kenkre sir makes things simpler for us and we are so much used to it that now I don't have confidence to work with other directors.

After consecutively working with Vijay Kenkre do you share same wavelength and must be on same page? Comment on your bonding with Vijay Kenkre.

In fact right from the first play itself we hit it off together. From the first show itself we started to share a similar wavelength and it was effortless to gel with him. It has been a natural bonding with sir. He is not at all a taskmaster. It's more like friendship than an actor-director relationship. For me he is like my father figure. I look up to him.

While you have worked with Vijay sir earlier, how was it working with other teammates, your co-actors?

I have never worked with other co-actors before but still it was fun. My team used to always have fun banter with me on asking too many questions. But none of them neglected me or were put off by my nature. My maximum scenes are with Saurabh Gokhale. He is a lovely co-artist. The best part about him is he never forgets his dialogues or laughs off in the live show even if someone fumbles on the stage. On the contrary he is adept in covering up the mistakes. Sandhesh Jadhav is a very senior actor. It was fun working along with him as well.

Share us some memorable experiences that you must have had while working on this play.

We were like a family. While working on the play we developed that bond. The best part is no one tried to throw their weight around or behaved to be superior or senior. There was no feeling of antagonist or protagonist between us. Everyone treated each other equally and that was the best thing about this team. Everyone was so free to give suggestions to each other and because of this our show used to be different. Whenever we come together, we are the happiest person on the earth. We used to eagerly wait for the weekend to arrive to meet for the rehearsals. It's very rare to have such beautiful team.

Shed some light on your role in this play?

It is a story about Pathare family, where a murder has happened. So, I am playing the daughter-in-law Malti Pathare who goes through lot of ups and downs. But she is a very strong woman. There are several scenes where I have to shed tears but the best part is how can I bring variations and how every scene can look different from one another was a big task.

What was the most challenging part about this play?

Before YOU MUST DIE, I did two dramas and both were murder mysteries only. Even in those two plays I played a suspect. So it was on similar lines, and somewhere I had to give similar kind of performance. I just felt that I should make this role look different as compared to my earlier ones, in that way it was a challenging task. For every actor that stagnancy shouldn't come, it shouldn't look repetitive. Being innovative takes you ahead as an actor.

Murder mysteries are order of the day. And we have seen it on several platforms. How challenging and different it is when it comes to presenting and performing on stage?

Theatre is very magical for presenting any kind of genre. In the case of theatre, you have to go over the top in showcasing anything because you cannot change magnifications. As compared to other mediums, theatre has only one magnification, where you have to perform. Anything you want to even express there is no close shot here. So, there is vast difference performing on stage and in front of the camera. It is very challenging doing it on stage and I love that.

You personally also love murder mysteries?

Absolutely. I love this genre. People are also enjoying this genre a lot. As much as I love watching it, I love even working on it.

Do you think more such genres should be encouraged, especially in theatre?

Of course it should be. In fact, anywhere and everywhere it should be encouraged, because even if you see from business point of view this genre is minting money, so why not? Every medium should encash it.

Different mediums like TV, OTT, films, etc have emerged over the years, but theatre has always stood strong. What's your take on this?

To be honest, I don't feel so. I joined theatre much later. I started out with television. For me TV is more beneficial, there can be different shades in a character. According to the story, the character keeps changing but that's not so in a play. As an actor that gives you growth. Having said that all the mediums are important none can be ignored.

Rachana Choksi has been a Bollywood writer for over 10 years and being a theatre lover she is now penning stories for Mumbai Theatre Guide.

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