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From theatre to films

Theatre actor and director T. R. Sreejith is making his debut in `Mayukham,' a film directed by Hariharan.

Sreejithc into mechanicals of threatre.

THEATRE AND acting are the deep rooted interests of T. R. Sreejith, a well-known theatre activist. This mechanical engineer and postgraduate in management adroitly juggles his professional life and his activities as a theatre activist.

Sreejith who is the son of actor T.G. Ravi was selected as the best outgoing talent of 1997 from REC Suratkal, for his excellence in academics and theatre.

Work with Dattani

What shaped the theatre-personality in Sreejith was his tutelage under Mahesh Dattani, of `Morning Raga' fame, in Bangalore, when Sreejith was doing his MBA. "My college was not far from Dattani's studio and I was fortunate to complete a course in theatre acting from there, that too with a scholarship."

Sreejith also participated in a theatre workshop by Michael Griggs of University of Portland. "After these two endeavours, Dattani advised me to focus on theatre," recalls Sreejith.

Sreejith directed Gautam Raja's renowned short play `Deep Freez.' "It was a memorable experience which taught me an important lesson; that I was yet to mature as a director," admits Sreejith.

So far, he has acted in about 30 plays in English and Malayalam. It gave him the opportunity to portray many characters, ranging from a schizophrenic, a clown and a homosexual to Sakthan Thampuran, and Hanuman, among others.

A scene from Bayan.

Vibrant actor

His portrayal of Malinder Ganga Das in `Bayan,' an English play based on Bengali author Mahasweta Devi's celebrated short story of the same name endorsed his reputation as a vibrant actor, when it was presented outside Kerala. Later when the same play was presented in Malayalam, it brought him laurels from theatre aficionados in Kerala.

The Malayalam adaptation was directed by Sreejith himself along with Vinod, another theatre activist and his associate. "This directorial venture gave me all the confidence as a balanced director, thanks to the cooperation of my co-director Vinod and members of Nataka Souhrudam who acted in the play," says Sreejith.

The success of his role in `Bayan,' earned him an invitation from veteran cine director Hariharan to do a strong role of a negative character in his latest film `Mayukham,' that is scheduled to be released by the end of April. This paved the way for another offer; to portray a strong character in `November Rain,' a maiden film by Vinu Joseph, the shooting of which concluded recently.

"In theatre, we use our strength and stamina to act and the response of the audience is immediate. This feeling is great and, in fact, a positive response undoubtedly boosts the performance. But in tinsel world it is entirely different; we actors are just raw materials in the hands of directors and we are supposed to behave as a particular character and not to act; that too without any continuity of sequences. And different directors have different perceptions; when one gives you the script well in advance to prepare, others may tell you only the situation just before the shot and may want you to do it extempore."

Theatre or cinema

If a choice is given between theatre and cinema what would be his preference? "I love both; both have its own charm and identity. Initially, I found it a bit hard to portray a character in theatre amid acting in films and vice versa, as I had to act in theatre at a few places while the shooting was going on. Personal experience and knowledge of the nuance of the media seems more important and now I am comfortable," clarifies a beaming Sreejith.


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