Vinay Sharma decodes the world of Padatik Theatre

By FilmySphere on 5th May 2016

Vinay Sharma, director of Padatik Theatre gives us insight about the success of Padatik and the hard work of the Padatik team.

We have all heard a lot about Padatik Theatres. So please tell us about your journey from 1972.

Padatik was formed in 1972 by late Shyamanand Jalan. It was one of the earliest theatre groups which did plays in Hindi in the city and won acclaim. Presently Padatik is mentored by Smt.Chetna Jalan who is an accomplished dancer. Under her guidance the group has seen many ups and downs, many trials and tribulations and moments of joy and despair.

Would you like to tell about your most happening play that you performed for the highest number of times?

About my favourite plays I can think of two outstanding plays .One was ‘Panchi Aise aate hain’ which opened in 1982. It was written by Vijay Tendulkar and directed by Shyamanand Jalan. The play received wide acclaim and opened to packed houses. The play a comedy, became so popular that we performed 200-250 shows of the play. We staged the play all across Bengal as well as in different parts of the country. Our second most outstanding play to my mind is ‘Atmakatha’ which we started in 2012. It was directed by me and starred and starred Mr.Kulbhushan Kharbanda who is a veteran Bollywood actor. We have performed the play before a wide section of people and have taken the play to several theatre festivals and it has been appreciated by one and all.

‘Late Lateef’, ‘Choo Mantar’, ‘Hayavandana’, ‘Hidden Fires’ , are some of your well known plays. Among all which one is your favourite?

Each play is special in its own way. At Padatik we encourage all the members to find his own niche, create his own style and discover his own forte. In 2005 i had wriiten a play called ‘ho sakta hain do admi do kursiyan’ which was across the country. We also took the play to London at Waltermans for a short season. There we performed before senior citizens, as well as in a school before an audience of 600 girl students studying in class 11 and 12. It was a very enriching experience to be a part of a play which broke all age barriers and was well received by viewers of all ages.

Your upcoming Venture ‘Yahaan’ can you tell us a bit about it.

Yahaan is an unconventional play which does not have a defined story line. It revolves around two women who are living different roles in their lives. They are forever wondering what their next role would be.

How many members were there when you started off?

When I joined Padatik there were about 25-30 people including actors, directors and production people.

How do you begin to schedule a new play?

It depends on the nature of the project. If it’s a small play we plan for it in a comfortable manner. However if it is a large project then the different facets of production have to be looked into. The director sets the pace as to how he wants his creative vision to get transformed into a play. Of course it involves a lot of discussions among the team members and the project is broke up into several small modules which are assigned to different teams.

Many eminent figures like Anmol Vellani, Ranjt Kapoor, Rajinder Nath are associated with Padatik. How do you feel about it?

I have personally worked with Anmol called ‘Aur Raja Mar Gaya’ which was an adaptation of an English play-‘Exit the King’. It was exciting to work with an intelligent mind like that of Anmol Vellani. I was fascinated by his creative adaptation of different forms and interpretations. It was a treat to be a part of his play because it was visually and stylistically a very satisfying experience.

Which genres of theatre play interest you the most?

I do not want to be associated with any particular genre. I rather follow an eclectic style where there are no boundaries or rules. You go with your instinct, intellect, found material and your understanding of any text that you encounter or you create.

How can challenging has it been to get a firm foot in the theatre industry?

Frankly we at Padatik were given like the proverbial people who were given silver spoon in the mouth. There was an infrastructure, a system of work since the 80’s and it has developed since then. Its never been a challenge really because over time it has always been a struggle to find the right audience. In the 80s there was a radical work in theatre, with a lot of experimentation, fantastic work followed by some conformity but now everyone is out to break out and do their own things. So the struggle really is to find the right audience for your play.

Where are the places all over in India where your plays have received great appreciation and you love to perform there?

In Mumbai at Prithvi Theatre where we perform pretty often has a very good and responsive audience. Very recently we found a fantastic audience in Bhopal for ‘Atmakatha’ in Lucknow, in Delhi. The centres where theatre is popular and have hard core sincere workers you find responsive audiences.

What message would you want to give to your audience?

Please keep coming and keep supporting us. Keep being critical of what we so we are always on our toes and give you startling work to shake you out of any complacency that you may have been into.

Author : Meghna Kothari