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World Theatre Day 2023: For me, the term theatre means the live improvised performance of the art, says Hetal Yadav

The 'Imlie' actress spoke exclusively to OTTplay on the occasion of 'World Theatre Day 2023'

World Theatre Day 2023: For me, the term theatre means the live improvised performance of the art, says Hetal Yadav
Pic Courtesy: Official Instagram Account of Hetal Yadav
  • Satish Sundaresan

Last Updated: 01.39 PM, Mar 27, 2023

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In her career spanning more than a whopping 25 years (and counting), actress Hetal Yadav has not just won hearts, but also the attention of many. The 'Imlie' actress spoke exclusively to OTTplay on the occasion of 'World Theatre Day 2023'. 

To begin with, what does the term ‘theatre’ mean to you?
For me, the term ‘theatre’ means the live improvised performance of the art. If we look back in the history, the theatre was actually started by the Greek people and later on adapted by the other countries. We also adapted it with our own way. Back then, the drama was the only thing to entertain people.

What was your first tryst with theatre?
I had never gone to any acting school before getting into the industry. I started with dancing and when I get into the acting, I knew that I had to learn basic. That’s why I thought theatre would be better for me to understand acting. So to understand and to become a better actor, I joined Gujarati theatre, I did two plays. Rajendra Bhutala sir is my guru in theatre. These two plays made be better actor. I still wish I could to more theatre. I would love to do it but economically it is not feasible, you get very little amount. I would recommend anyone who is trying their hands into acting; you go to the drama school first.

What inspired you to enter the world of theatre in the first place?
I thought that I should do theatre so that can polish me as an actor. What was lacking me as an actor inspired me to go and do theatre. When I was doing these two plays, I was not doing any film or serial for one full year!

What is it about theatre that you enjoy the most?
Those 2 hours of any theatre show, you are constantly on the toes and you are alert. You cannot dull down even for a second, even if you have small scenes, you have to be alert. That’s what I enjoy the most!

Do you find theatre challenging?
Theatre is of course challenging, because, it doesn’t give you second chance. You can’t erase whatever you did and do it again like films or serials. You have to be accurate and even if you goof up, you have to cover it up in your performance so that your audience should not get a chance to notice that.

What, according to you, is the basic dividing line or the line of difference between the two mediums of theatre and films?
The line which is dividing theatre and films is called as the ‘line of economics’ (laughs heartily). There is definitely a huge difference between the two mediums because, since theatre doesn’t offer comparatively good money, that’s why many people don’t continue it for a longer time. Doing theatre will not make you financially strong. Naseer Ji, Shabana Ji, Ratna Ji they have started it again only after they got financially secured from films. In my later age, when I’m financially secured, I am sure that, I would love to start doing theatre again.

Today, we live in the age of not just the media, but also the social media. Has the advent of social media changed the way people are now looking at theatre?
No… I don’t really think that social media can ever change the perception of theatre amongst the audience because I feel social media audience and theatre audience is completely different. I don’t think the majority of this social media influencers must have ever even watched a theatre play… let alone knowing what exactly theatre is all about. Also, social media as a platform is very superficial not that I doubt on influencers’ talents. They all are very talented in their own way, but the advent of social media can never take over theatre as a medium.

Do people have any misconception/s about theatre?
There is no misconception as such, but, I feel nowadays many people look at theatre as a very ‘inferior medium’, because theatre plays do not get enough response as much as a cinema release. I feel it does not get enough importance as much as it should be getting.

Just like beauty pageants mostly provide the platform for films, do you think that theatre also acts as a platform for films?
There are a lot of cases where it has happened that actors are being picked up from pageants. I myself have been picked by a group of dancers during my modelling days. But, with theatre people, I’ve seen that it is very rare case where actors get such chances.

Has the pandemic phase affected or impacted the theatres scene in India?
Yes, definitely the pandemic affected the theatre scenes in India by giving rise to OTT. Theatre is a live medium and everyone had been made to sit at home and rely on OTT for entertainment and since then, it has been very difficult for theatres to go back to normal.

Is there any advice would you give to aspiring theatre makers?
There’s this one personal experience that I’d like to share that can be taken as advice. I haven’t been able to come back to theatre plays because of the low pay to the actors. If this gets better in the future, I’m pretty sure more and more people would like to work in theatre.

Which has been your most memorable theatre performance till date?
One my of most memorable theatre performance dates 18-19 years back when I was doing this play ‘Mohiben MBBS’. I had learnt a lot during those days to be able to pull off a good performance.

How do you deal with people who talk/ chat during the performance or those who DO NOT switch off their mobile phones on silent mode or switch it off?
It feels terrible when an artist is performing and he/she is not being respected enough. It feels very bad and I think this kind of audience is very senseless. People forget that theatre is a live medium and such instances tend to affect and impact any actor’s performance/s.

Who has been your inspiration in theatre?
Sarita Joshi ji. Sarita ben has been the biggest inspiration to me. Working with her is considered as a blessing, although I haven’t had the chance to do a theatre play with her. But, I have been fortunate enough to do the television show ‘Meri Ashiqui Tum Se Hi’ with her.