Multi-faceted Vinay Pathak will be in Chennai to perform in Rajat Kapoor’s Nothing Like Lear

Talking to Vinay Pathak, one understands why this man is a popular theatre artist. He has a fantastic, refined voice, his diction is clear and he sounds erudite.For people who have only watched him on screen, it’s hard to imagine this is the same person who made us laugh in films such as Bheja Fry playing the role of a simpleton with an unflattering accent. But then that’s what actors do... make you believe.

Pathak will be back in Chennai to perform in Nothing Like Lear, a play directed by Rajat Kapoor. He plays a clown and the play is the clown’s rendition of Shakespeare’s classic King Lear.

“King Lear was written many centuries ago but we tried to make it a story that connects even today and that’s been a Herculean task. The story has to evolve with you and with time. Nothing Like Lear is a one-man performance and I’ve never done anything like that before,” says Pathak.

It must have been challenging to memorise the lines for this 90-minute play. Laughing he replies, “It’s more challenging to hold the attention of the audience. You need to establish a rapport and narrate a cohesive story. As for lines, they are something that you master with rehearsals.” It’s been 22 years since Pathak took to the stage and he confesses that goof-ups happen on stage all the time but the skill is in not letting the viewers know that.

From the stage to movies, over the years Pathak has portrayed numerous characters. He likes doing roles that are well-written. His next big screen release is Maximum that opens on Friday. Apart from that he plays the role of freedom fighter Gaur Hari Das in Anant Mahadevan’s film, Gaur Hari Dastaan and is also shooting with Saurabh Shukla, Mughda Godse and Radhika Apte for an untitled dramatic comedy.

Few are aware that the versatile actor first went to New York to pursue an MBA. But after two semesters he quit B-school and joined a school of drama. Not that he regrets it. Why should he when all the roles he essays, no matter how affable or exasperating they are, become instant hits.

(Nothing Like Lear will be staged in Chennai on July 1, 6.30 p.m. at The Music Academy.)

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