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Theatre with Sharman

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

From being passionate about engineering in 3 Idiots to being passionate about theatre in real life, Sharman Joshi has brought us some great projects. Jagruti Verma speaks to him about his life in theatre

Sharman Joshi is known for fantastic films such as Rang De Basanti and 3 Idiots, but don’t be quick to assume that Bollywood is the only land he’s conquered with his talent! The actor has hosted a game show, been on several television series and is also well known for his roles in theatre. We spoke to him to find out how theatre has changed, why he loves being in plays, and about his venture into directing them.

How would you say the theatre industry has changed in the past two decades?
Thanks to the popularity and rise of television, there has been a bit of a talent drain in the theatre world, which hasn’t been good for the art form. At the same time, there has also been some action heating up the genre of late, which is a good thing. I think that if the right people come into the business at this point, theatre could be taken to the next level, where people can get good quality entertainment, and we as creative people can have a platform to showcase it to audiences in order to express ourselves better. Also, our Gujarati and Marathi population is quite culturally inclined towards theatre, but surprisingly, not many Hindi-speaking audiences seem to be going to the theatre. Hopefully, with more film actors and directors stepping into this world and interesting work in the pipeline, we will be able to build this audience, and hopefully keep them coming back for more by giving them good stuff to watch.

Your second play, Main aur Tum, is a Hindi adaptation of an English play called Same Time Next Year by Bernard Slade. What difficulties do you face when you’re presenting it to an Indian audience?
Same Time Next Year had the potential to be adapted into an Indian language because of the kind of story, concept, thoughts and ideas that are in it, all of which are relevant in an Indian context. In fact, they’re universal. The fact that it has been adapted in so many countries shows us that it is a timeless classic, where borders and boundaries don’t matter — it cuts through all of that. The fact that it could be enacted in various countries around the world also proves that Bernard Slade has written a story about human emotions so accurately that people all over the world can relate to it, which is a great thing!

What difficulties did you face while directing a play in which you also have to act? Is it any different from directing a movie, where you can go over the recorded scenes on screen?
I actually shot the play on my phone, to see what I was doing. It was a plain recording that was very flat and boring. However, it gave me a general idea of how the play would eventually look. We generally have stand-ins for the parts we are playing when we are directing something, so we can see how things will look. It could even be the assistant director standing there.

We have seen you in many different roles — comic, romantic and horror. What genre do you think suits you best? What’s your favourite type of character to play?
Drama comes to me more naturally and I find it easier to fit in because I don’t have to work very hard at it. Thankfully, I had these two great plays to help me work on my comic timing.

Are there any films you would want to adapt and direct into plays someday?
Yes, I would love to direct Mystic River as a play someday. It is a finely done film that won quite a few Oscars. I can’t explain why — it’s the kind of film you have to watch to know! From the more recent films, even Gone Girl could be performed well as a play.

Watch the play
Main aur Tum is about two people who meet each other on the same weekend every year, for two dozen years, for a romantic tryst. The twist in the tale is that they are both married to different people, and initially met by chance at a romantic inn over dinner several years ago. After finding themselves in the same bed the next morning, they decide to meet every year, which they do. Over the years, they change and help each other without the other’s knowledge. The play embodies wit, compassion and a sense of humour and nostalgia. The next performance will take place at Rangsharda Auditorium on June 26 at 7.30pm.

Tickets are available on BookMyShow and start at Rs300. Visit to experience a tale like never before!

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