Updated: Mar 23
Image Source: Youtube
Pruthi is arguably the only performance storyteller in India who performs in German, Hindi, Urdu and English apart from having performed in Punjabi, Kannada and Bangla as well. Exploring and bonding cultures and peoples with his bag-full of stories for 20 years now;East Delhi resident Kamal Pruthi dons many hats. He is an actor, singer, anchor, translator, director ,and writer at different points in time, but he is nothing if not a storyteller. He is best known as the creator of Museum Theatre, a concept that has revolutionized the concept of theatre in the recent past. He is a theatre actor from Delhi. He gained recognition with his play Aadab Manto Sahab. Kamal is celebrating 20 years of his presence in the theatre and art industry in 2019.
RASA AUR DRAMA: It is so amazing to know that you as a performer also travel a lot with your performances. Do tell Rasa Aur Drama about your experiences ?
KAMAL PRUTHI: Well, you are telling a chef that he cooks a lot. What else does a wanderer do, if not travel? That’s what I have been doing for the last couple of years. In India I have so far traveled to 13 states and so far touched 9 countries for performances and workshops, leisure and transits;-) Allow me to do some show off by adding the count of transit countries like Dubai, Finland and Russia and the Leisure trip countries like Belgium and Netherlands also to the list. Real artistic work has so far happened in 4 major countries starting from Germany, Poland, Bangladesh ,and Hungary.
Q2.) How do you think traveling so extensively within India and abroad with your performances and workshops, builds your creative energies, let's say adds experience or expose your artistic work to a diverse international audience ?
KAMAL PRUTHI: Oh yes, with each and every performance and with each and every workshop, the reach of an artist grows. In my case, it has been brick by brick approach of audience building. Slow and steady way of sculpting the entire castle.
Image Source: Kamal Pruthi
Q3.) How is the knowledge of the international audiences on India and Indian culture in cities like Berlin, Hamburg, Budapest?
KAMAL PRUTHI: Internationally people know India in a very limited way and most of the news which gets broadcast about India abroad is negative and present only a bad picture about India. I have had long conversations in every country about this.
Q4.) How's the people to people connection of a normal European citizen to a travelling Indian artist?
KAMAL PRUTHI: It varies from country to country and individual to individual. Some people shower lots of love and care for me as an Indian performing artist and for some, it doesn’t matter at all, which is also ok.
Image Source: Kamal Pruthi
Q5.) Have you been able to weave any more new stories in this travel to Europe? We at Rasa Aur Drama would love to know that?
KAMAL PRUTHI: Because of the language barrier, I performed in English after a long time, though for Kabuliwala I used the Kabuli accent and for Sheikh Habibi I used the Arab accent while speaking in English and it was taken very humorously very much like the way Indian audience responds to my performances here.
Q6.) What are the workshops you took at Hamburg, Berlin, Hungary?
KAMAL PRUTHI: While I conducted mainly Theatre and Storytelling Workshops, I was representing India as a literary German Hindi Translator for the second time.
Q7.) How's the kids theatre environment in these cities? Can theatre from the Indian subcontinent contribute to it?
KAMAL PRUTHI: In Berlin, it is very vibrant with the presence of Grips Theatre. Any artistic exchange is good for both countries. Indian children theatre can contribute to the world. The kind of animated energy we have it in us is unique. We might not be great with the use of technology and putting up a grand stage, but our audience connect for sure is something to vouch for.
Q8.) Which of these cities was your longest stay?
KAMAL PRUTHI: More than the duration of the artists stay in any particular city, the constructive artistic work and interactions are important. I spent 5 days in Hamburg, just interacting with authors of German children literature, visiting libraries, building connections ,etc. In Hungary, I conducted back to back shows and Workshops for teachers, storytellers, parents ,and children.
Image Source: Kamal Pruthi
Q9.) Can you recount how the character of Kabuliwala was received in these European cities?
KAMAL PRUTHI: All the countries in Europe are cold with warmth hidden somewhere. And I dig out that warmth during and after performances. The character Kabuliwala and his whole ideology of big bag of stories were new to the European audience and was taken with a lot of delight.
Q10.) Is Kabuliwala nostalgic?
KAMAL PRUTHI: In what sense?
Q11.) Kabuliwala being your first major production, which brought you in the limelight, is it nostalgic to perform it again?
KAMAL PRUTHI: Yes and No! You call it nostalgic or my artistic choice, but the reality is I don’t perform the Kabuliwala show anymore in India. But yes, I performed the character after 3 years for the international audience this week so that they get to taste it too. Under the banner of Kabuliwala Productions, we have 6 major productions which have been traveling since then. Mullah Nasruddin, Bahrupiya, Aaina, German Rajkumar and Sheikh Habibi is the latest addition.
Q12.) Before we log off, what are your upcoming shows and performances ?
KAMAL PRUTHI: A lot in the cards. Feel free to connect with me over FB to get updates about all the upcoming shows and workshops. Here's the link:
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