By Siddhi Jain
New Delhi– Veteran Indian actor Tiku Talsania, known for essaying comic roles in many Bollywood films, is also a Gujarati theatre thespian par excellence. He stars in Zee Theatre’s new teleplay ‘Jenu Khisu Garam Eni Same Sau Naram’, and says theatre has been my adrenaline shot.
He reflects on Gujarati theatre in a chat with IANSlife:
Q: Your association with theatre is a lesser-known aspect of your acting. Tell us about this side of yours.
A: Mostly I have done Gujarati theatre. It is known to Gujaratis all over the world. I have travelled with my theatre group and done plays all over the world, including Australia, Africa, UK, Europe, and in the US. When I started, I was associated with Indian National Theatre, one of the premium institutions of that time. I started my theatre career in 1976, and have been acting since then. I’ve done very many plays. I’ve done comedy as well as serious plays, as well tragedies. Theatre has been an all-round experience, and actually has been my adrenaline shot (laughs). I can never ever give up theatre. Just waiting for this pandemic to go so we can start again.
Q: How has the pandemic affected regional language theatre?
A: Pandemic has affected regional language theatre very badly. Marathi theatre has been shut for a very very long time. They say they would open in November. Gujarati theatre just gets to put its leg in, with theatre bookings going to Marathi theatre. We get very less theatres to perform, but it’s been really bad. I’ve known actors who have been out of work since the past two years. People are scared to go in. Performing with 50 per cent capacity of audience becomes very expensive for us to make the group travel. It becomes tough to survive.
Q: What are your thoughts on the evolution and current status of Gujarati theatre?
A: Gujarat theatre has come a long long way and has evolved. The future is bright. With pandemic, I’m sure there are writers who have great stories where the character is the hero.
Q: How often do you try to do theatre? How do you balance it with working in films and TV?
A: I’ve been really lucky so far that I’ve gotten the best projects in Gujarati theatre. I tell my theatre and film producers and try to balance it out. It becomes difficult to do a play when you’re doing a television series, because you’re needed on the set. In films, it’s easy to adjust. The director understands how important it is to do theatre. I try to put it in their minds that watching live art is very different and important for people to see to know their culture and heritage.
Q: How do you view the digital medium?
A: I can be in any part of the world and speak to anyone. The digital medium has come a long way in bridging distances. (IANS)