Come whatever may, theatre will never die

 Come whatever may, theatre will never die

Saurabh Tankha

It was a chance visit to the LTG Auditorium at Mandi House in the National Capital that I happened to watch a play which drew my attention by its title. Bayar, directed by theatre director Raunak Khan, who has also directed plays like Khoj-bin, Hawalat, Khuda Hafiz and many more in the recent past, was about a troupe of singers and dancers. It is the story about a troupe that is emotionally attached to the folk and traditional art forms. Emotional because they have nothing apart from relations and emotions. What’s more, none of the troupe members know anything apart from dancing and singing. There’s a lot more but we are not reviewing the play but to talk to the play’s director, Raunak Khan.

Khan has performed in over 50 plays in India as well as in Australia, China, Taiwan and a few countries in Europe. He was also working as a freelance theatre actor in Kingdom of Dreams’ maiden project, Zangoora. Here’s a brief chat with the actor-director…

A bit about yourself…
I grew up as an insightful child in a huge joint family of farmers with five siblings: two brothers and two sisters in Burhanpur, a small village of Azamgarh district in Uttar Pradesh.

The first time you felt the urge to express yourself through acting…
I had gone to watch a play of a friend who did theatre. I got so impressed by the play that I decided to join the theatre family.

How easy or difficult was it to convince your parents that you wanted to take up theatre as a profession?
It is always difficult to convince family when you are entering such professions. No one at my home was ready to send me to do theatre, especially my father. It was only when I told him that this was what I wanted to do as also my feelings and aspirations related with theatre that he agreed.

Did you get any formal training for acting?
I have done a two year diploma in theatre acting from Shri Ram Centre for Performing Arts, New Delhi.

In what ways is a theatre artiste different from the one in the film industry?
In theatre, an artiste has to perform in front of a live audience while in movies, actors performs and then their movie releases in cinema halls. The reaction from our audience is instant as we get to know as to how was our performance but the actors in the film industry never get to know it.

Though there always has been talk of theatre dying and not many people watching plays, theatre is never going to die. Do you agree? If yes, what is in plays that theatre-lovers get in plays they do not in movies?
Come whatever may, theatre will never die. There is a huge difference between theatre plays and movies. In theatre, you may see original look, voice and even feel the real character. Most importantly, there are no retakes on stage. Actors work hard for just one take and learn that life is like it because life does not give many chances.

Did you try a hand at movies?
Yes, I did a small role in October, directed by Shoojit Sircar. It was a nice learning experience. Apart from that, I have worked in Fenestra Window and Tata Strive advertisements too.

Your favourite actor(s)
Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Neeraj Kavi, Pankaj Kapoor, Irrfan, Tom Hanks, Daniel Day Lewis.

Your favourite director(s)
Theatre directors Tripurari Sharma and Robin Das.


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