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  Entertainment   Bollywood  07 May 2017  Wedded to theatre

Wedded to theatre

THE ASIAN AGE. | MEENKETAN JHA
Published : May 7, 2017, 12:28 am IST
Updated : May 7, 2017, 12:28 am IST

Filmmaker and director Veena Bakshi talks about her upcoming play on the banalities of marriage, giving a new lease of life to theatre, and more.

A scene from Bas... Tum Aur Hum;  (inset): Veena Bakshi
 A scene from Bas... Tum Aur Hum; (inset): Veena Bakshi

“Marriage,” says National Award winning director Veena Bakshi, “is a relationship where the partner becomes like an old shirt in your cupboard that you keep going back to. You will have your fights with one another, and you will learn from each other. Marriage is that sacred institution where you don’t have to say ‘I love you’ and that, sometimes, is just left unsaid.”

As part of the Ananda Hindi Natya Utsav at NCPA, Veena is planning to stage her play, Bas… Tum Aur Hum, based on her idea of the institution of wedlock. The play brings to light the everyday relationship of a couple, which she believes is a lot more common than one would expect. “If you look at any relationship, after knowing each other for a while, it becomes too comfortable,” she explains. “My play shows how the conversation between the couple is banal, but at the same time, it means a lot, as they form the basic of any relationship between a husband and a wife.”

Despite having dabbled in movies, Veena waxes eloquent about the power of theatre. “My motivation to do theatre was to experience something new, having worked on films,” she explains. “Theatre has so many forms; it has such an ancient history. Stories are very gutsy and could be broader, could do with much better with people backing it.”

Veena

Although India possesses a rich theatre culture dating back to 200 BCE, when Bharat Muni’s Natyashastra was written, theatre has constantly found itself on the peripheries of the modern form of entertainment in terms of popularity, and Veena believes that proper funding could be the key to solving this issue.

“We started from theatre. Movies started from theatre,” the director emphatically says. “Movies have their special traits, and are the number one form of entertainment right now. If theatre is given the financial boost, it could become a huge influencer. Theatre could become robust and healthy. It attracts several greats of the acting industry; there are so many talented theatre actors that are coming up and have performed in theatre.”

Even as she prepares for her play to make an appearance in a Hindi festival, Veena is rooting for theatre in the language to make it bigger than it has been so far. “Hindi theatre is progressing. Older themes in plays are being set up in new plays, and it can be given a bigger boost.

Theatre is still one of the poorer mediums of communication unlike films, which has much more people funding it,” she says. “But I wouldn’t generalise saying Indian audiences are considerably less attracted to Hindi theatre than English. The latter medium is more a Mumbai thing. Hindi and regional theatre are prominent in other places. Right now, there is an eclectic audience for Hindi theatre. Awareness of different forms of entertainment needs to be there. Exposure to newer forms of Hindi theatre such as Yakshagan and puppetery could help popularise it to newer levels.”

Tags: veena bakshi, tum aur hum