Bringing Alive the 70’s

 Bringing Alive the 70’s

Recently my theatre choreographer friend Vedika Sai invited me for her play Golden Jubilee – A 70’s Musical at Prithvi Theatre. The name itself seems very catchy, and to add to that I was waiting to see the next interesting work of Vedika so my actress friend Shathi Priya and me decided to go and see the play. And oh boy what a riot it way. All the dances of the 70’s the cha cha cha, twist, shake, cabaret, disco you name it and we saw it – in a typical Bollywood film story format.
I could not help but talk to the director Saurabh Nayyar on what made him create this and dance and laugh extravaganza. I also spoke to my friend Vedika Sai about what went into composing the dance sequences and teaching the artist the 70’s style of the dancing, not much practiced today. Excerpts from the interview:

How did the idea of a Golden Jubilee – A 70’s Musical come about? 
Saurabh Nayyar: We read a story of late Harishankar Parsai. It is a satirical short story Ek Film Katha I thought that it would look great on stage as a play, so I started adapting it, I spoke to a few of my theatre friends about it too and finally decided that I will make it with lots of dance incorporated into the story.

Theatre Production

Why did you choose live music over recorded one?
Saurabh Nayyar: When I started my theatre journey in Jabalpur (M.P.) most of the plays were musical, there was live singing and dancing and I simply love that idea, as I believe that is real theatre and that is the essence any theatre production should give out to its audience. So when I started writing plays, I wrote the song first, keeping in mind that it should be in a musical format. Same happen with Golden Jubilee. Then I cast for it actors who could sing, dance and act and when I found such talented versatile actors who could act, sing and dance beautifully why would I record songs, no way, plus live music ki baat hi kuch aur hai and I love the concept of everything being live on stage, the high, the euphoria that live music and dance can bring recorded music can never ever match up to that.

The choreography was apt with the theme, what was your brief to your choreographers?
Saurabh Nayyar: The choreography was done by Niketa Saraf and Vedika Sai. They did workshop with actors and started exploring things. Dance which can lead us to the era of 60s, 70s, as a writer few images were fixed in my mind like Ravan choreography you saw in the musical, which I wanted like Kathakali. I told Vedika and Niketa my vision and they took it ahead from there very beautifully. We also improvised some of choreographies especially the college scene, I must admit it was also experimental in some portion. But Vedika, will be able explain you better on how it was for them to bring the 70’s alive on stage.

Theatre Production

How long did it take you to prepare this production?
Saurabh Nayyar
: After my casting and finalising the music, it took me two months to get the project on stage. Initially, we worked five hours a day but as soon as our premier show dates were fixed we started rehearsing for almost eight hours a day. My entire team gave me their life, blood and sweat for this show. There were three things which we had to rehearse – scenes, songs and dance.
Vedika Sai: Before the actual choreography on the songs given to us, I conducted a few weeks of movement exercises sessions to improve coordination, increase precision and also to gather sense of presence in regards to presence of each other while we dance, which helped shift positions while dancing on stage. Once that of over with the choreography work took roughly a month.

What challenges did you face?
Saurabh Nayyar
: Challenge was in terms of timing kyunki kaafi kam samay bach pata tha. Also to be safe it was double cast show. Niketa and Annpurna both played Ranjna’s part. Same with narrator. So each show had a different cast. But I enjoyed the process tremendously, it was tiring but the end result is for all to see.
Vedika Sai: The biggest challenge for us as choreographers was to keep the steps minimal and simple. While choreographing this musical we realised the magic simplicity in dance can bring and why the 70’s is called the golden period of cinema.

Theatre Production

Where did you draw your inspiration from?
Vedika Sai
: We owe it all to the artists. As we drew inspiration from each of the artist who are a part of the musical, each artist’s body has a unique style and as choreographer we tried our best to get inspired from there and compose our dance sequences. And come what may our ever green film stars of the 70’s and our cinema that actually did golden jubilees can never be forgotten, they are all forever etched in our mind, body and soul.

How difficult was it to get the essence of the 70’s out?
Vedika Sai:
The essence was easier to extract as the routine was also set depending on each of their style and bodies. They with their characters got more choices to us to fine tune in the process, so essence actually lived through even while the process was on. I must again admit the artist helped us a lot in bringing alive the 70’s era.

What has been the response and what is up next?
Saurabh Nayyar
: Response was beyond the expectation, we worked hard and one thing we all knew, it will be feel good play as it was joy ride for all of us during rehearsal. And after the opening show audience felt the same. Next step is find small nuances during our rehearsals and of course to revisit the play every time.

Sandip Soparrkar holds a doctorate in world mythology folklore from Pacific University USA, an honorary doctorate in performing arts from the National American University, He is a World Book Record holder, a well-known Ballroom dancer and a Bollywood choreographer who has been honored with three National Excellence awards, one National Achievement Award and Dada Saheb Phalke award by the Government of India. He can be contacted on [email protected]


News, Lifestyle & Entertainment stories - all at one place

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected !!
%d bloggers like this: