The actor spoke exclusively to OTTpay on the occasion of ‘World Theatre Day’
After having done serials like ‘Patiala Babes’ (with co-stars Ashnoor Kaur, Saisha Baja j), ‘Lockdown Ki Love Story’, ‘Y.A.R.O Ka Tashan’, ‘Shakti — Astitva Ke Ehsaas Ki’, the prolific actor Aniruddh Dave has something rolled up his sleeve, which is not ready to disclose. He says that he will reveal the surprise when the time is right. On the occasion of ‘World Theatre Day’, Aniruddh Dave exclusively spoke to OTTplay.
Aniruddh… to begin with, what does the term ‘theatre’ mean to you?
For me, theatre means confidence, passion, dedication, practice, rehearsal and polishing. I feel very fortunate that, being from a theatre background, the television shows that I have done… I don’t think any theatre actor might have done. I feel very lucky because I am from a theatre background and because of that, my talent and craft has always been appreciated.
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What was your first tryst with theatre?
My journey with theatre began from a children theatre workshop in Jaipur. Till then, stalwart actors like the (late) great Irrfan Khan sir and Anup Soni had already created their names and they had passed from National School of Drama. I was quite inspired by them and seeing them, I too wanted to take admission in a National School Of Drama and make a name for myself name in Mumbai. After doing amateur theatre, I did professional theatre. And, for that, I went Delhi and did freelance theatre with most of the faculties of National School of Drama. It was truly an amazing and an unforgettable experience. I also led many an international theatre festivals. As a part of ‘Bharat Rang Mahotsav’ which was organised by NSD, I had taken part in a play named ‘Rashomon’, in which I had played the lead role in it.
What inspired you to enter the world of theatre in the first place?
Talking about acting, as I said earlier, it all began from theatre. For me, TV and films came in much later, as it was only theatre which proved to be a medium to brush my skills and then move forward. Today, even though I maybe doing many serials and show, but, trust me, I really miss doing theatre. I was inspired by the theatre actors of Jaipur like Shri Amit Arya and Shri Vikas. Even Vaibhav Mathur, who is an integral part of ‘Bhabiji Ghar Par Hain’, happens to be an amazing theatre artist. I was in my twelfth standard when I used to watch his plays. I simply loved his stage presence and his timing on stage.
Do you find theatre challenging?
Yes… because you need dedication and discipline. Additionally, you also need to craft and mould yourself in it. Today, people read the script and start acting on the spot. But, in the case of theatre, you practice for months and then perform. And when you act in front of the camera, people appreciate your craft. My theatre experience has helped me a lot. Be it my dialogue delivery or my on stage body language… I majorly owe it to theatre.
Acting theatre mein bhi karna hai, acting filmon mein bhi karna hai. What, according to you, is the basic dividing line or the line of difference between the two mediums?
Acting in theatre and acting in films are totally different from each other. But, in the end, you have to act. Unless and until you don’t practice your character, you can’t bring out that character to the audience. I feel sad sometimes saying that, no matter how much you act on television and do something spectacular, I feel, it’s better to do that before the public. When people do acting after doing theatre, the artiste’s work gets noticed and appreciated. After that, he is known as an artist because people remember him from his acting and he starts dwelling in peoples’ heart. Today, the episodes are like storytelling. But, if someone remembers your character that you have portrayed in the show/ serial, that means, you have acted out and performed amazingly!
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?
Once upon a time, theatre people were called down market people, whose work was never appreciated because people only wanted to see 6 pack abs and fair and handsome people. In theatre, the character speaks and today, with the advent of OTT and films, the character speaks out and if the character is good, the stars get appreciated. It’s a bitter truth which everyone knows. Today, the theatre actors who were once referred to as ‘down markets’ are the highest paid actors! You can see that on OTT and no one can be compared with them. Today, they are up market now and so much in demand these days. Theatre actors are rocking at this point of time.
Just like beauty pageants mostly provide the platform for films, do you think that theatre also acts as a platform for films?
Theatre is like preparation for achieving your goal. And, in order to achieve your goal, one needs to be totally passionate about it. It’s like a journey. If you finish this ‘journey’, then the film and TV journey would be a total cakewalk for you. Theatre is like schooling. I have read more than 300 acts and stories and today also, I read my books and practice after I reach home. Theatre is like a passion which you cannot let go.
Is there any advice you would give to aspiring theatre makers?
In theatre, you don’t have the two magical terms that defines filmmaking. And these two magical terms are ‘action’ and ‘cut’. In theatre, after the third bell, you have the curtain call and when the audiences clap; your act reached its finale. So…discipline is extremely necessary when you do theatre!
Who has been your inspiration in theatre?
Theatre is never ending because the more you watch, the more you learn. Today, I also chose to go to watch the play rather than choosing other things. Today also when I go to Delhi, I visit the National School of Drama and meet the faculties. It makes me feel good. I have done freelance theatre there. I feel lucky to be hailing from a theatre background. Whenever my work is appreciated, I deep down, have the sense of contentment because, these appreciations are purely because of theatre. I got to fulfil my dreams because of theatre.