Theatre Speaks

Naman Mukherji
Actor

Which is the last play you liked and why?
PURANE CHAAWAL by DforDrama was the last play I saw and it was a great humorous take on such a deep topic. Also being a metadrama that is rare in Hindi theatre.

Your favourite adda to see a play…
Prithvi Theatre hands down, an intimate theatre that has the best vibes.

Your favourite playwright…
Shri Sharad Joshi

Your favourite play-character…
Favourite play is EK THA GADHA and the Nawabs character is my personal favourite.

A play you would like to see filmed. Why?
Yatris RAAT BAAKI HAI would be a wonderful play that would look excellent if filmed. The supernatural elements highlighted by the technical team would look phenomenal on camera.

A novel/short story you would like to see on stage? Why?
Lamb to a slaughter would be a short story I would like to see on stage as it has some great scope for performance and the story is perfect for stage.

The most hilarious play you have seen…
Yatri's RAVANLEELA! The satire leaves me rolling on the floor every time I have seen or read it.

A play, which is over-hyped…
ROMEO AND JULIET, despite being a classic has had so many adaptations that it has lost its charm as an individual masterpiece.

An important play (but ignored):
Yatri's KAALCHAKRA is a play everyone must watch as it teaches us about the vicious circle of life, leaving the audience weeping and having a new respect for elderly people.

A play character you would like to “dialogue” with…
Om Katare as Ravan in RAVANLEELA or Naseeruddin Shah as THE FATHER.

A passage from an important play that you can recite…
There are way too many passages I can recite but one of my favourites is the Nawabs monologue in EK THA GADHA where he talks to his Chintaks about his views regarding the kingdom.

A classical play that you should have read…
COURT MARTIAL, MAHASAGAR, NATSAMRATH and SAKHARAM BINDER are the classics that define Hindi theatre and must be read by everyone involved in theatre as a whole.

A play that changed your perception about the theatre….
Yatri's PERFECT FAMILY changed my perspective about theatre. I also play a very important story altering character in the play and this play taught me about the basic and most important rules a theatre artist must know and broke all my misconceptions about performance, the greatest learning experience for me as a theatre personality.

How do you regard the Mumbai/Indian theatre scene?
Indian Theatre especially Mumbai is growing, people are opening up to the idea of visiting theatres and watching plays regularly, the change is slow but the theatre scene is much better then what it was five years back, people are becoming more open to variety and concepts that were not considered appropriate a few years back.

Have you read any interesting books/articles concerning the theatre? Why did you find them interesting?
I read an article in a magazine where Naseeruddin Shah spoke about theatre and how it's an art that will never die. That was very interesting as he shed light upon how theatre is a purer form of performance and how once an actor does theatre, it's always alive within him.

Can you recall an event that was insightful, significant or simply humorous during your theatre journey?
I was preparing my character for a play named BABUJI DHEERE CHALNA. I was playing a smart ass lawyer in this comedy and spoke to my girlfriend's husband in a 20 minute back and forth scene. During one of the rehearsal Om sir told me to stop acting. I've heard this statement several times but this is when I realised how to have a real conversation on stage rather than blurting out lines. The simple rule of acting is not acting helped me throughout my 250 show plus theatre journey.

Can you think of a foreign production that you found remarkable? Why?
I recently saw WEST SIDE STORY at NMACC and it was a visual treat! The thought of being a part of such a production gave me thrills.

Your favourite director/actor/music or set designer…
My favourite director is Om Katare since his method that he taught me while acting really clicked and worked for me. Inayat Sami is my favourite light and set designer, the knowledge he has about his craft is unmatched.

A significant Indian production that you may have witnessed…..
I do not feel any such production has been created that has a significant impact on the theatre scene especially Hindi theatre. The Great Indian Musical was anticipated to do so but it cannot be considered as a significant Indian production in my opinion.

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?
Oh the humble Prithvi Theatre cutting chai! A ritual for me is having a Hot Toddy from the Prithvi Cafe before every show, it just hits all the spots and can be considered my catalyst for a great performance! The greatest experience is always 30 seconds before you step on stage, the adrenaline rush is the greatest high one can experience.

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