In an exclusive interview, actor SHREYAS TALPADE talks to SAURABH TANKHA about his OTT platform for plays and performing art, Nine Rasa; his latest acting venture, Teen Do Paanch; experiences of working in Hindi cinema vis-à-vis its Marathi counterpart; the most useless talent he possesses; his life and more…
When did the idea of the OTT platform, Nine Rasa, strike?
Last year, when the first lockdown got extended. That was when all of us friends started exchanging calls, thinking what we needed to do. One thing common in these calls was what we needed to do for the theatre community as we all have theatre background. I felt when everything is going online, why can’t theatre follow suit. I suggested we shoot a play, upload on a platform and whatever money we collect is given to needy distributors, actors, technicians and producers. It started with the intention to help the theatre fraternity and give them a longer survival solution.
We figured there is a bigger need for Indian theatre, specially to reach out to millions globally. During my travels in India and abroad, audiences have always said they miss theatre. I thought if there is a bigger need, why not get theatre online and make a dedicated platform for theatre and performing arts? The journey started in May last year and here we are with the world’s first dedicated OTT platform for theatre and performing arts, Nine Rasa, a deviation of navarasa with Indian sensibilities and global appeal.
Unconventional for a movie star to foray into theatre…
…because I’ve done theatre for almost 16-18 years of my life. When you do theatre, you are in love with the performing art and would not let it go for anything. But there have been limitations with theatre as it has been limited to auditoriums. In this day and age where we have technology to take it worldwide, why should one of the oldest, finest, purest and richest artforms, only remain limited to auditoriums? People need to experience the magic of theatre and the fantastic performances artistes put up on stage. Today when the whole millennial population is opening up to hardcore performances, we shouldn’t keep it limited where a select few watch it. Hence, theatre OTT. As of now, it is a self-funded venture wherein my wife and I have put in money as we felt it is something we can achieve on our own.
It is the story of a young couple who want a child but end up with five, three adopted and twins of their own. I can’t wait to make people laugh since there is no better feeling when one is able to cheer people up with your work
Tell us about your new show, Teen Do Paanch.
A rib-tickling comedy, Teen Do Paanch is the story of a young couple who want a child but end up with five, three adopted and twins of their own. I can’t wait to make people laugh since there is no better feeling when one is able to cheer people up with your work.
How has been your experience in Hindi cinema?
It has given me a lots – worldwide identity, great roles, opportunity to work with some of the finest directors, best actors and great writers. Overall, Hindi cinema along with Marathi cinema and theatre has been helpful in creating what Shreyas Talpade is today. The development of my personality, over the years, is due to the experiences I’ve gained while working with these people. It has given me a wider reach and greater exposure as well as understanding of my art and craft. I can’t thank god and all these people enough for making me what I’m today.
Hindi cinema has given me global identity, great roles, opportunity to work with the finest directors, best actors and great writers. It, along with Marathi cinema and theatre, has helped in creating what Shreyas Talpade is today
How different is Hindi cinema and theatre vis-à-vis its Marathi counterpart?
The major difference is budget and then the markets are different too. While Marathi cinema is limited to Maharashtra and Maharashtrian people in India and worldwide, Hindi cinema has a wider reach and bigger budgets. The effort in both cases is more or less the same. Theatre is a different ballgame as there are no budgets. When I did theatre, people flocked theatres even on weekdays. Though theatre has become better than before, audience numbers are limited to weekends and in certain pockets and auditoriums. It is time theatre reaches out to every household in India and abroad.
I spent a lot of time with my daughter and family during the pandemic and the lockdown as I thought it was a great opportunity or a blessing in disguise. Had it not been for the pandemic and lockdown, I probably wouldn’t have thought about Nine Rasa
How did the period of lockdown treat you?
I spent a lot of time with my daughter and family as I thought it was a great opportunity or a blessing in disguise. Had it not been for the pandemic and lockdown, I probably wouldn’t have thought about Nine Rasa because one was in a comfort zone and things were happening in a certain manner. Lockdown pushed all of us to think beyond the ordinary.
What’s up next for Shreyas Talpade?
There are a few films I have done last year, a Hindi film called Love You Shankar. It is a reincarnation drama by Rajiv Ruia who made My Friend Ganesha series earlier. Then there is a romantic love story in Marathi by Mahesh Manjrekar and another Hindi film, Mannu Aur Munni Ki Shaadi by debutant director Deepak Sisodia which we are shooting in Goa currently. And there a couple of projects in pipeline too.
A social stigma society will need to get over soon…
Soon, I think, there will be stigma basis the number of followers you have on social media. You will be considered an outcast if you have lesser number of followers. I think it will become equivalent to the money in your pocket or bank. On the same lines, followers and likes will be a major deciding factor and we might end up with it as one of the social stigmas.
Any of Hrishikesh Mukherjee films or Mr Amitabh Bachchan movies. I can also watch the movies made by Rohit Shetty or Rajkumar Hirani sir’s anytime. In fact, I can watch any film over and over again
Movie can you watch over and over without ever getting tired.
Any of Hrishikesh Mukherjee films or Mr Bachchan movies. I can also watch Rohit Shetty and Rajkumar Hirani sir’s films anytime. In fact, I can watch any film over and over again.
What food is delicious but a pain to eat?
Crabs. Perhaps the reason I started eating less of crabs because it needs too much effort.
When was the last time you yelled at someone?
I don’t remember when I did so as I don’t yell-yell. But when someone is not falling in line and not following the line of discipline, I tend to get a little upset. One has grown up with certain ethics and values which are common and you feel everyone must be aware of them and following them, like not spitting at public places and wasting water or electricity. I get upset when I see such things happening around.
The most useless talent you have.
I’ve this habit of changing the lyrics of old songs and converting them into funnier and more relatable common every day lyrics. But then my wife hates it as she feels I destroy some good songs. Now I agree with her too. Therefore, this talent is completely useless.
What movie quote do you use on a regular basis?
Picture abhi baaki hai mere dost from Om Shanti Om.
Celebrity you rate as perfect 10.
I’ve always liked Mr Amitabh Bachchan and his performances over the years, especially the way he has inspired us with his hard work and the hunger he has in his belly to perform better and better in each movie.
Your first impression of yourself.
Difficult to be objective because sometimes you might unnecessarily end up pulling yourself down by being too harsh on yourself. You need to be pampering and boosting yourself. There can be limitations and drawbacks but we have seen so many people who had nothing or were considered nothing and they ended up having a life or a fortune for themselves or achieving stardom, name, fame and respect. So I would want to keep a check on it every day.