Satyadev Dubey goes candid as his latest play Lakshmi… hits the stage
Photographer: Nilesh Wairkar
How did Lakshmi Kum Kum Laavta come about?
Doing a play is my basic need. This one’s a workshop production with about thirty youngsters. Through it I’ve been able to explore a different kind of theatre. It’s a myth that people who do a play know everything about it. You start writing a play, and then you’re stuck. But I go on, trying to be slightly different and yet pertinent. The play shapes up. It’s like a love affair. The themes in this play are explored through an interview. But the theme is something the audience decides, not the director, and that too, only if the play works! Since it’s a young play, we’ve even subsidised the tickets (Rs 20).
Your last two plays (An Actor Dies but… and A Raincoat For All Seasons) were personal, while the ones before that comprised more political, religious and social content. Why the change?
There is no change. The creative act by its nature is political. Also, politics is intertwined with society, and social changes. A lot of my concerns and a bit of my past will always come in whatever I am doing.
How relevant is theatre in today’s world of TV, big-budget films and quick fix entertainment?
Has sex become irrelevant because of pornography and sex-toys being in the market? Has life become irrelevant because of dirty politics? Live theatre performances will never die as long as people are alive and want to connect.
You’re as renowned a teacher as a director and writer. You had said that a formal education in theatre is useless. What’s ideal then?
There is no ready-made solution. Acting cannot be taught, but has to be learnt. If you have talent even formal education cannot stop you. Atul Kulkarni is a good actor despite being from the National School Of Drama. The simplest way to learn acting is to watch Marathi plays.
Why Marathi particularly?
There are so many of them happening at unimaginable times, from 11 am to 4 pm! And if you don’t understand the language it’s even better, because you won’t get too involved and will concentrate on the performance.
Any future productions in the pipeline?
I want to do a play on sex and it being a taboo subject still. A painter is tried in court for sexually explicit paintings showing goddesses. He then refers to toys being made of goddesses and hence them being nude at some point or the other. He also refers to the ling and yoni–essential symbols of Hinduism.
Even sexologists schools don’t talk about this openly, for fear of it being crude. But a lot of practical problems arise because of a psychological barrier. One talks of a nudity being okay only if it’s aesthetic. That’s ridiculous. One has to take a bit of risk with restrictions and extend the ambit of ‘reasonable’.
Why have you stopped writing films?
Mandi was the last film I officially wrote. It was for Shyam Benegal. But I would love someone to take me as a consultant, listen to me carefully and then reject everything and do his own stuff. I don’t know if I can say anything profitable, but I can react honestly and originally.
This article first appeared in Mumbai Mirror, Times Of India: http://alturl.com/xchx