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ANUJ KUMAR
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Interview Author Kiran Nagarkar talks about the social commentary in his latest release “The Extras”

SCULPTING THE CULT CHARACTERSAuthor Kiran NagarkarPHOTO: SUSHIL KUMAR VERMA
SCULPTING THE CULT CHARACTERSAuthor Kiran NagarkarPHOTO: SUSHIL KUMAR VERMA

He beguiles readers with his curious plots and bewitches them with his piquant sense of humour. Almost two decades after his “Ravan & Eddie” hit the stands, Kiran Nagarkar is back to following his cult characters with a sequel called “The Extras”. Excerpts from an interview.

What was the need of the sequel?

I'm interested in my characters; I was keen to know what happened to them, and pursued them. Both were drawn to films and music — Ravan was watching ‘Dil Deke Dekho', and Eddie was watching ‘Rock Around the Clock'. In terms of career, they could not think of anything else but films. The story is about how they set out to be superstars, but end up becoming extras.

The title hints at a bigger picture…

To be an extra is very difficult, for you don't set out to be an extra; you wanted to be a superstar. Your mind is in denial, and you survive on hope. Both Eddie and Ravan have their respective bands but they can't make enough money out of them.

So, Ravan runs a taxi, and Eddie becomes a bouncer in an illicit bar. Eddie and Ravan have many misadventures trying to be stars. And, Eddie talks about the likes of Raj Kapoor as if the actor were his bosom friend.

This brings up the relationship between people such as Eddie and gossip magazines; and you never get to know who thrives because of whom. There are similar digressions on education system, taxis…, a social commentary on the times.”

But the basic idea is accepting the other as the other is…

My original thesis was about why people hate each other.

The change comes very gradually. Initially, when Ravan (whom Eddie considers responsible for the death of his father) tries to help Eddie, Eddie is not even grateful. Slowly, they begin to appreciate each other.

Right from your first play ‘Bedtime Story', you have talked about the collective responsibility of society. So then, we are also responsible for Ravan and Eddie's hatred for each other.

Not just Eddie and Ravan, every Mumbaiite is responsible for allowing the beautiful city to go down the drain. We are responsible for the fact that our country has become so utterly corrupt.

The job of the politician is reduced to a cross between mafia and real estate agent. Every time a quota is allocated, you don't complain if it reaches you and your family. We never get to see a situation where people say we can see through your intentions.

How can we go about it?

By raising our voices. How do you think India got its independence through non-violence? We have forgotten the national narrative. The consumerist society now thinks only about individual interest, not about fellow beings.

ANUJ KUMAR



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