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Theatre Interview: "Ramanujan" inspired him says Sawan Kumar Badgujar

Image Source: SawanKumar Badgujar

The play opened up to exciting energy in the city. It talks the life of the Indian Mathematician "Ramanujan". Sawan Kumar Badgujar who plays Ramanujan chats with Rasa Aur Drama about the play.

Q 1) Sawaan, can you tell Rasa Aur Drama about your interest in acting and films?

Sawan Kumar Badgujar: So, I got involved in theatre activity from engineering days. My team and I performed a street play for the first time for IIT Powai Street play challenge. Where we performed in front of more than 500 people in the small village. So that was my first start. Talking about Swatantra Theatre. Yes, it's my first group. For last three years, I am with this group. With Swatantra theatre I have done 10 new plays still counting…under the direction of Abhijeet Sir.

Q2) How important were Mathematical concepts to "Ramanujan" the actor? SKB: Yes. Very important. Because I was playing the man whose work was all about Math. So knowing about the terms and invention by them was important. The Math language also changed my horizon on thinking. As it is said Math is the language of God. Truly it is. Whatever we see it all derived from Math formula and calculations which started eons ago. As I am from an engineering background I knew some of the formulae so it was doubly interesting to know about the story behind how they got derived.

Q3) Does Ramanujan talk on truth and numbers? SKB: There was a story about how partition formula got derived by Prof. Hardy and Ramanujan. They concluded with a formula on the partition and to check they took 200 numbers and started partitioning it. It took them 1 month to get the final result and both formula and number were same. Yes, his all life revolved around numbers.

Q4) What is truth to Ramanujan? Is Science an answer to all to him? SKB: During his day's everyone was under a belief that everything has limits. But he said there are some things which can have no limits which are “infinity.” He believed in powers like his “’Devi” Nammakal, his goddess. Which is above Science understanding. So, I don’t think he believes in the thought that science is everything.

Q5) So, Science is not able to answer all answers, right ? SKB: Yup, we can say.

Q6) A belief system is still needed, how did you reconcile this with your character? SKB: Ahead of science there is one thing called “momentary impulse.” He used it a lot. When he was in India he nearly constructed more than 5000 theorems and no one knew about his theorems. But no one could understand this thing as there were no procedures and proof. But they were useful. Like many theorems are used today in black hole studies and all. Yes, his work was not recognized more due to lack of reasons and proofs. But, that doesn’t mean his equation was not useful. In the play, he says “He never worried about the proof. He said the world will find the proof.”Yes. It was his belief in his God and himself, which help him to construct a new formula. If you cut the goddess part and impulse part then their nothing left in Ramanujan's life. So I think!

Q.7) He he, Some of his theorems are yet to be solved? SKB: Yes, The lost book. Found some years ago. It has some interesting equations too. My personal experience. It was a different feeling to play and portray a character of a great person like Ramanujan. Also, yesterday it was his 130th birth anniversary. It was another feeling to play his character on his birthday week.

Q8.) Lucky, Lucky. Even I feel this play should have been performed last year only? SKB: Yes

Q9.) Was it more challenging due to the content, also for the audience to see a hero? SKB: The script took more time to edit, adapt and translate. The script has gone many changes. It was actually 4-hour long story.

Q10.) Why should the youth and college students watch Ramanujan? SKB: Until age 33 he achieved a lot in his life. He was not an ordinary man. The self-belief in his work, and the work he did it’s a research subject. So, everyone should know about him about the work he did. He was fellow of Royal Society which is the best thing or award a person can get in Mathematics. Newton, Pascal were the early members of FRS. And above all, he was an “Indian”. So knowing about the person who was from a caste where crossing the sea was prohibited. He couldn’t eat local food in London. His ritual prohibited him doing many things. Still, in the British era, he manages to get out from his ritual and made himself a great Mathematician is not an ordinary person. So knowing him is very important. And the play “Death of a Mad mathematician” has it all journey.

Q. 11) Why do you love this play? SKB: It's about S. Ramanujan. The belief in himself and the other Goddess like Devi Nammakal was something I never thought about and experienced; it was something new for me. So to know about it was interesting. Till now I have played many interesting characters, but this one was about the beliefs and psychology of the character. So, I loved the play.

Q. 12) Can you name some of your favorite plays? SKB: Mujhe Amrita Chaiye is one of my favorite play. Then, Sagar Lodhi Sir “Hijada” is all time favorite play.

Q. 13) Three things that theatre at Swatantra has taught you? Punctuality, Discipline, more passion for work.

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