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World Theatre Day 2023: Theatre means being grounded that you are brutally honest with your feelings, says Shubhaavi Choksey

The ‘Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii’ actress spoke on the occasion of ‘World Theatre Day 2023’

World Theatre Day 2023: Theatre means being grounded that you are brutally honest with your feelings, says Shubhaavi Choksey
Pic Courtesy: PR

Last Updated: 09.13 PM, Mar 27, 2023


After impressing everyone with her acting skills in shows like ‘Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi’, ‘Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii’, ‘Kasautii Zindagii Kay’, ‘Bade Achhe Lagte Hain 2’, the talented actress Shubhaavi Choksey is busy with her new play ‘Don Juan’. Today, she is in an exclusive conversation with OTTplay on the occasion of ‘World Theatre Day 2023’. 

To begin with, what does the term ‘theatre’ mean to you?
Theatre means being grounded that you are brutally honest with your feelings, with your work, body of thoughts, emotions and physically. You have to dive so deep within you that it’s not about performing or acting, it’s about just doing it. You do so many rehearsals, you put so much.

What was your first tryst with theatre?
As a child, I don’t remember when my first performance was, but I did my dance performance when I was in 6th or 7th. At the age of 22, I remember my theatrical debut happening with a plays called ‘Creeps’.

What inspired you to enter the world of theatre in the first place?
The curiosity to learn what is this because I had known when I was 20 that there is the craft. I didn’t know the difference between acting, performing and just doing it. These are things made me learn this craft. Being the person who gets bored to fast I wanted to do that because the world of theatre teaches you to become better each time because the more you perform you realise something new every time you perform. Whether the way you say the dialogue, or expression or it’s an action you do.

What is it about theatre that you enjoy the most?
The best thing about theatre is that you have to go within, you have tap those emotions where some of them you’ve forgotten, that are on surface and you have to go deep in within. As a person I discover myself even more. More than the show, it is the rehearsals I look forward to because that’s when you push your limits and think out of the box. Discovery, accepting it and executing it, is the beauty of theatre I enjoy the most.

Do you find theatre challenging?
Two things I find challenging about theatre. One is monetarily; it doesn’t pay you as much. And second is your power to experiment. Each show you can do something different. There are couple of differences but these are main two I feel.

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?
In my opinion, somebody who wants to watch theatre whether for their entertainment or because they want to polish themselves by watching somebody else’s performance or just for the love of theatre, I think whether social media is there or not there, whether films or OTT are doing well or not, I feel that each individual has a special choice towards certain things and that doesn’t change, it might become lesser but you’ll always be drown back to what you love. If you have love for theatre, you would go.

Just like beauty pageants mostly provide the platform for films, do you think that theatre also acts as a platform for films?
Yes, I think, but it also depends on who’s come to watch you. I also think it’s all about time, when your time comes opportunities will come your way irrespective of the medium. We cannot forget the fact that theatre is a true enhancement and it’s the place where true talents come out from.

Has the pandemic ‘phase’ affected or impacted the theatres scene in India?
I used to do theatre 18-19 years ago and now I am back at it again. Just a couple of days ago, I remember having this conversation with my co-stars wherein they did mention how severely theatre was affected during pandemic and that it has just started to revive again.

Is there any advice would you give to aspiring theatre makers?
I am not the one who would give any ideas to aspiring theatre makers because I feel they are already buzzing with so many ideas. I have just done a play ‘Don Juan’ comes back from the war, directed by Rehan Engineer and the way he has staged the play is on a completely different level. So I would want to learn from them in fact.

Your most memorable theatre performance till date?
My most memorable performance from the play called ‘Creeps’ which we had performed at the Prithvi Theatre. Prithvi Theatre has an audience which every theatre actor looks up to and it was a very ecstatic experience and this very play also took us to Lahore for a cultural event which was a great experience in itself. And the play that I did recently has also been very memorable because it had 34 women with one man and none of us were repeated in any scene, with live music, great set change and characters representing every age group. I am so very grateful that I got to work with people from different ages of life, walks of life and experiences of life. These days have been some of the best days of my life.

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?
I am so glad that you brought up this topic. This is one topic which I had been wanting to address it since a long time. And thankfully, through the medium of this interview, I really want to speak my heart out that, it is very disrespectful and I just realised that the least you can do is tell them because I feel people coming to watch a play should have their own conscious.

Who has been your inspiration in theatre?
I have had many inspirations in theatre such as Naseeruddin Shah and Ratna Patak Shah. I would also love to mention Smita Patil ji here. I have had many inspirations since childhood whose names I didn’t know because I was very young but they have really inspired me a lot.

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