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An interview with "One Man Industry": Shyam Dharmadhikari

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"Theatre is the most effective way of representing lives of each other.”

First Meeting With “One Man Industry”: Shyam Dharmadhikari

A veteran Marathi Film Director who has the tag “One Man Industry” talks to Rasa Aur Drama about how theatre works in Nagpur and his recent works.

Q) How did theatre start for you?

Shyam Dharmadhikari: I started my theatre at a very early age of 12 years and was always fascinated by the way of telling a story. I have been in theaters and then to films and always believed in continuous learning. But after few years I started my struggle in the film industry as an assistant director. But I still feel theatre is the most effective way of representing lives of each other.

Q) Do you have any memories of your first role in theatre? S D: Well, I had started my actual acting career in my 11th std. Until then I was learning a lot of things but the role in Phoola Sugandh Vachita (Flowers smell good) was my breakthrough as a hero as well as a director.

Q) How is Nagpur for theatre? SD: Well it is not much active and to make it active I had taken up a challenge in 1993 by doing a horror Marathi drama Sapala (trap) and by God's grace all shows were a house full and few tickets even were sold in black. It consisted of all local artists. We tried to demonstrate a ghost trying to get out down from earth which stood to be the selling point of the play.Another we had a conference in regards to theatre establishment in which all great artist laid their views on how actually a drama should be portrayed. But I being a rebel I challenged them and with no lights, no money, I demonstrated a play and it was a great hit too. Therefore If your message is conveyed to the audience then your play or movie is always a hit.

Q) Could you tell us about your present drama company? SD: This drama company was started by me in the year 1984. ‘Natya Parizat’ being the name of the drama company. We used to organize workshops for kids did all sorts of theatre. I remember we had done two experimental plays Eureka Eureka and Gadbad Ghotala being a huge hit in those times.

Q) Which are your favorite plays ? SD: Frankly speaking I don’t always like my plays that much because each and every time I could find a scope for improvement; but once I saw a play in Hyderabad at Surabhi Theatre. The name of the play was Sri Krishna Leelalu (Sri Krishna’s Stories) and the portrayed the fight between Lord Krishna and Kaliya snake in the water, that held dumbstruck I became a huge fan of those people.

Q) Where do you do your practices for plays? SD: Presently the team is at Hindi Prachaar Samiti, Nagpur at an old rotten building; drama keeps it lively. But being lively because of drama practices. The artists are initially not rich so we always find a free or cheapest place to practice. I feel the government should bring something on the high pricing of theatres and start thinking about the lives of theatre artists. Its huge time that no one has worked on it something should be brought up. (Take a poll on it)

Q)How did the writer inspire you for this play? SD: This play was not at all interesting. Initially, I didn't like the way of writing and asked the permission of the writer to modify it. I converted it into a play by stitching a few non-related events and reworking the concept to make it more lively and presentable. The credit still goes to the writer.

Q)Tell us about the present team at Natya Parizat and the competition

SD: This team formerly was not under Natya Parizat. They are total amateurs and the previous director only focused on their voice and dialogue. These people are technically weak but I love the spirit and they hail from different backgrounds and carrying out a tremendous amount of work.Talking about the competition this is an open competition for Hindi Drama organized by the government. In past years I remember my team has won Best Director, Best Actor and Best Drama all the time it has entered the competition.


About the blogger: Venkat Karthik writes short stories, loves to read and is an all-out theatre buff. He catches plays and films often and is currently working on an event in Hyderabad. His home is in Pune.

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