Theatre Speaks

Rohit Tiwari
Actor, Director
[Hindi, English Theatre ]
Rohit TiwariWhich is the last best play you saw?

Abhishek Majumdar's KAUMUDI

Your favourite 'adda' to see a play

Haute Haveli (temporarily shut), Prithvi & Bharata Bhavan (Bhopal)

Your favourite playwright

I like many of them not any one in particular. All have their strengths and weaknesses.
I prefer contemporary plays and playwrights than the classics.

Your favourite play-character

Inspector Pandey from my own play INSPECTOR PANDEY FIRR MARR GAYA

A play you would like to see filmed. Why?

INSPECTOR PANDEY again. Infact I have already started working on the script. It's a really different take on the life of a cop. I believe a cop or a policewala is the most hated profession in India. We hate them even more than rapists or murderers. But are they really insensitive to all this hatred, how do you live with all of it ? That's what I have tried to explore. I would want more people to see and think about it

A novel/short story you would like to see on stage? Why?

'Ek Safed Baal' by Pt. Harishankar Parsai and Ramdhari Singh Dinkar's epic poem 'Rashmirathi' (in a simplified form).

The most hilarious play you have seen

A really hilarious play that I still remember was JUST DON'T DO IT by Iqbal. Also the Clown Series by Atul Kumar.

A play, which is over-hyped

There are so many of them that are running on sheer marketing and the group's name.

An important play (but ignored)

NATAK ACHHA HAI ZAROOR DEKHNA, written by Puneet Sharma and directed by Rakesh. Also many plays by newer younger groups that are trying really hard to make a mark on their own.

A play character you would like to ''dialogue'' with

I would love to have a word with Godot. Hey dude long time no see¡Kkidhar hai kidhar tu¡Khahaha

A passage from an important play that you can recite

Right now totally involved with my own productions to remember anything else. I can recite my whole play though And I m sure every Hindi theatre actor learns the usual suspects: Ashwathama's speech from ANDHAYUG, Shivaji's from JAAG UTHA HAI RAIGAD or the Sutradhar from AADHE ADHOORE.

A classical play that you should have read

All of Shakespeare's works.

A play that changed your perception about the theatre

It was a long transition rather than something that just happened overnight. But all the plays that I have seen to date have been an inspiration in motivating me to be a part of theatre and some have been a great inspiration in teaching what not to do, ever.

How do you regard the Mumbai theatre scene?

Whatever I have experienced in Mumbai, and I speak only for the Hindi/ Hindustani theatre Scene, it is very anti new groups / plays. It is a closed fraternity of limited groups who are well known by the virtue of being there for a number of years. Other than Manav Kaul or Makrand Deshpande who work on original writing, there's hardly any original writing coming out. The established groups are doing the same old plays since eternity and new groups who are experimenting are not getting enough opportunities to do so. I don't buy the excuse that the new writing is not up to the mark, and so can't give it a chance. It is like a vicious circle; no experience so no job, but how do you get experience without a job ?

Have you read any interesting books/articles concerning the theatre? Why did you find them interesting?

I love to read whatever Shanta Gokhale Madam writes, whether it is about plays or other art forms. It is a critical evaluation yet it is very audience centric. Something that a viewer would have felt watching that performance. She just gives words to an audience's thoughts

If you have ever been a part of a theatre production/s, can you recall an event that was insightful, significant or simply humorous?

I remember a play that I was a part of a few years ago and three days before the premiere the writer/director left the project due to differences with the producer. And then all of us actors were in a great moral dilemma about whom to choose- the play or the playwright? We had put in three months of hard work for almost eight hours every day with the director pushing us to do our best and then suddenly the same person expected us to quit. It was a really dramatic situation. All of us made our individual choices but that innocence and excitement of effort was lost somewhere.

Can you think of a foreign production that you found remarkable? Why?

Haven't been fortunate enough to witness any foreign production.

Your favourite director/actor/music or set designer

I love to see Kumud Mishra perform on stage. And I like Dhanendra Kawde's sets.

A significant Indian production that you may have witnessed


Life in the theatre without the humble batata-wada or the cutting chai... or can you recall the best gastronomic experience you've had in the precincts of the theatre to date?

The homemade food that the actors bring during rehearsals is the best. That's how I fell for my wife. We met during a theatre production. Both of us were acting in it. And she used to bring boxes full of delicacies every day for the whole cast and made her way to an actor's heart through his empty stomach. Now, in all my productions, she makes sure that actors get homemade food during rehearsals. The only difference being that I carry the dabbas now.

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