Interview
 
Vikas Bahari Interview
Vikas Bahari has written and directed several plays. He holds a diploma from Madhya Pradesh School of Drama, Bhopal. He is the founder of Prism Theatre Society. Recently, two of his plays were performed in Mumbai, CHIDIYA AUR CHAND and KHIDKI, which has also been performed all over India.


 By Tarun Agarwal


Vikas Bahari has written and directed several plays. He holds a diploma from Madhya Pradesh School of Drama, Bhopal. He is the founder of Prism Theatre Society. Recently, two of his plays were performed in Mumbai, CHIDIYA AUR CHAND and KHIDKI, which has also been performed all over India.

Which was the first play you directed? Does it get any easier to get plays off the ground now?

I directed my first play around twelve years ago. I used to work as an actor before that. The person who was directing could not come but the venue was already booked. So, this opportunity came to me. Theatre is difficult now as it was then. There are many factors that are important in doing theatre. For example, earlier we used to incur losses. Now, there are both profits as well as losses. After a while, actors move on into other sectors. Also, all of us tend to become less hungry for excellence after a time. The motivation that we used to have in our earlier days, is not there any more.

KHIDKI has been a success. What do you think worked?

We have performed KHIDKI more than fifty times. We have been doing the play for the last 7-8 years, We have performed it all over the country. What seems to have made it a success is that both the actors worked on it with commitment. I was writing and rehearsing with Jatin Sarna and Priyanka Sharma. When we were doing it the first time, we had not finalized the ending even a day before the performance. The energy that all the three of us brought into it has been critical to the success of the play. Jatin and Priyanka know the play so well that they can do it even without rehearsing it once.

How do you ensure that actors such as Jatin Sarna keep their commitment to your project, given that they may get a great film role to do for the exact same days?

Jatin has been doing KHIDKI for 7-8 years, so he does not need to give too much time to perform it. All he has to do is commit one or two days to it. So, we discuss his other commitments and finalize the dates for this play. However, it is a little difficult to get him to do an original play in which he would have to prepare from scratch, rehearse multiple times, and give a month. He respects theatre a lot. He did not do theatre merely to get into films.We did CHIDIYA AUR CHAND with him, a new play. When his other commitments allow him to do a play, he works very hard on it and there are no tantrums. He participates in all the rehearsals.

What has been the highest reward you have received by working in theatre? Has it brought you good offers to work in films?

The highest reward is getting a highly appreciative audience. Whenever we hold a performance of KHIDKI, we usually get a full house. This is very gratifying. I also have got several awards for scripts and direction.

There is a lot of work I am doing in films. I am writing scripts. I expect to direct a film. There are some projects, if we get the right nods, we will soon be able to create a film.

What are you most eager to do in life next? What are your goals for the next two years?

My goal right now is to direct a film. There are many things being done to make it happen. I have been through the experience of making an audience laugh, cry, and reflect, in theatre. I want to have the same experience in cinema, by writing scripts and songs. There is big money involved and getting just one person to say yes, is not enough to take it off the ground. I also want to write and direct one new play every year, besides the plays we are already performing. I have been working on a novel. I have completed a hundred pages. I hope to complete it soon.

(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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