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'Theatre has an edge'

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FIRST ACT Darshan Jariwala with Mandira Bedi in a scene from the play
FIRST ACT Darshan Jariwala with Mandira Bedi in a scene from the play

Darshan Jariwala, who plays the lead role in Conditions Apply, talks on his passion for theatre and cinema

Those of us who haveseen `Gandhi My Father'have gushedabout the actor whoportrayed the Mahatma inthe film. The role got DarshanJariwala a NationalAward for the best supportingactor in 2007.

Films, however, are(comparatively) a recentphenomenon for Darshan.First there was theatre, amedium which he findschallenging. Darshan talksof his play "Conditions Apply",where he is producerand lead actor. The play hasbeen written and directedby Vikranth Pawar. MandiraBedi will be his co-star.

Nightmare lives

"Conditions Apply"show the lives of Man andWoman and represent thenightmare that modern urbanlife can be sometimes.The play is a hilarious takeon the trials of two solitarypeople (Man and Woman)in a cityscape and whathappens when their pathscross. Mandira and Darshanportray these twoseemingly neurotic yetnormal individuals in theplay.

In a telephonic chat withMetro Plus, Darshan talksof the tradition of theatre,folk or rural, that India hashad.

A group of performersgathering under a tree, forinstance, a putting up aperformance making acommentary on society orbeing tools of socialchange, "theatre has alwaysbeen there as a mediumand it undoubtedly hasan edge over films andtelevision."

With a strong base in regionaltheatre (Gujarati),the resurgence of theatrein Indian English exciteshim. "Theatre holds a mirrorto society, the socio-economicconcerns, urbanangst are all reflectedthrough the medium andthe revival or resurgence ofthe English theatre isgood." One of the reasons,as he sees, for the resurgenceof English theatre isthe increase in those familiarwith English.

Urban concerns

In a career spanning almostthree decades in theatre,Darshan has acted inseveral plays in Gujarati,Hindi and English. He hasacted in plays such as `30days in September', `Mahatmavs Gandhi', `GoingSolo II' etc.

Talking about the reachof a play in Malayalam orGujarati, Darshan says thereach of the English theatrewill be limited simplybecause of the numberswho speak the language."The percentage of Englishspeaking people is boundto be lesser than thosespeaking the vernacular,and therefore the reach ofregional language theatreare bound to be broader."The concerns expressed inEnglish productions tendto concentrate more on individualconcerns as opposedto social issues.

"That is because the reachis limited to urban centres,people living in cities."

Although theatre is achallenging medium, `onewhere one has to fight thatsense of complacency becauseof the comfort levelwith the medium', films exciteDarshan. "Probablybecause films are such anexciting medium, and I amlearning more about themedium.

This sense of being involvedwith the medium isexcites me." Darshan waslast seen in films such as"Ajab Prem ki Ghazab Kahani"and "What's yourRashee?"

SHILPA NAIR ANAND

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