Saurabh Shukla, a veteran theatre personality and immensely popular actor on silver screen, the Kallu Mama from movie Satya was in Capital recently to act in the humorous romantic comedy theatre 2 To Tango 3 To Jive. Woman’s Era spoke to him on the occasion. Been conferred with prestigious national award and having worked in around 100 films the actor now wants to do theatre regularly, his passion if we rightly put it
Films Are My Bread And Butter, Theatre A Passion
Saurabh Shukla says “.I was missing from theatre for almost 18 years after I moved to Mumbai for films. . Some time back I thought about doing theatre. Bombay of course is a great place for theatre, but I wanted to start from a place where I actually began my journey in theatre and that was Delhi. So I came back to Delhi almost four years back did the first show of 2 To Tango 3 To Jive . It was my come back play. This year I have done a new production titled ‘Baraf’. I obviously can’t ignore films because they are my bread and butter. But now i have started dividing my time, so it is like if I do films for a year I have to dedicate six months to theatre” .
Delhi is very special to me
The actor, director, playright and multifaceted theatre personality says “. There was a gap of eight months in staging the shows of play 2 To Tango 3 To Jive owing to the long list of film commitments I had. We couldn’t do the shows of 2 To Tango 3 To Jive for eight months because of my backlog of films. So I was travelling and for 5-8 months I only did films”
He admitted to having a great nostalgia of Delhi. “ I graduated from here and started doing theatres. I also worked in NSD as an actor in the repertory company from where I got picked for movie Bandit Queen by director Shekhar Kapur. He took me to Mumbai and that’s how my stint in films began. I also directed films and am well known for writing hit scripts like for movie Satya, Pappu Can’t Dance Sala, Salam-e-Ishq among others”.
Films in Hand
Sharing details about his upcoming film releases, the actor says, “I have finished shooting for film ‘Jagga Jasoos’ starring Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif. The film I am doing right now is Kamal Hassan’s Shabash Naidu. I have written the Hindi version of script, originally wriiten in Tamil by Kamal Hasan. The film features Kamal Hasan and Shruti Hasan in lead roles, the story is based on father- daughter relationship, and is an action comedy. I am also doing Jolly LLB 2 and finished Sudhir Mishra’s Aur Devdas. I am also doing a film Fraud Saiyaan produced by filmmaker Prakash Jha which stars me and Arshad Warsi in lead roles. The story of the film revolves around these two characters” he explains.
In Mumbai You Can’t Afford To Experiment With Theatre
Saurabh has done theatre across India. Mumbai and Delhi being the centre of his work and the epicentre of hindi cinema and theatre. The actor explained what difference he finds between the theatre cultures of both the cities one being the capital and other the financial capital of India. “Both places are great for theatre, audience is equally great. In Delhi you can do experiments with the theatre but in Mumbai you can’t afford to lose money, you have to bring money back as it is the bread and butter of lot of people there.
If you see the Marathi theatre or Gujarati shows, people are living on theatre, it is their livelihood. So what happens in that case we need to be little cautious about how to please the audience. In Delhi the shows are more relaxed because people pursue theatre as a hobby not as a profession”
Grading System Should Be Introduced For Censorship
CBFC the statutory body under the ministry of Information and Broadcasting off late has been in news for not doing justice to the films while monitoring its content. Udta Punjab recently was struck down by the Censor Board and could be released only after the High Court permitted it. We asked the actor “Does he find it as an attack on right to freedom and expression? . What impact does it has on creativity of artist ?”.
“There is a sign board in Marathi ‘Uttam Break Mann Cha Break’. I understood the meaning of sign board later. The best censorship happens within you and not the censor body. As a responsible citizen what you make and what you really think should be shown. See, I am not against violence or obscenity shown in films, just that it has to justify the script and not shown out of titillation. The actor went on to say “We can’t measure censorship just with the parameters of CBFC. Grading system used in America for censorship of films could be introduced here as to address the problem”