Darshan Jariwala, who plays the lead role in ‘Conditions Apply', to be staged in the city on January 16, talks on his passion for theatre and cinema

T hose of us who have seen ‘Gandhi My Father' have gushed about the actor who portrayed the Mahatma in the film. The role got Darshan Jariwala a National Award for the best supporting actor in 2007.

Films, however, are (comparatively) a recent phenomenon for Darshan. First there was theatre, a medium which he finds challenging. Darshan will be in the city for the staging of ‘Conditions Apply', as producer and lead actor. The play has been written and directed by Vikranth Pawar. Mandira Bedi will be his co-star.

Nightmare of urban life

‘Conditions Apply' show the lives of ‘Man' and ‘Woman' and represent the nightmare that modern urban life can be sometimes. The play is a hilarious take on the trials of two solitary people (‘Man' and ‘Woman') in a cityscape and what happens when their paths cross. Mandira and Darshan portray these two seemingly neurotic yet normal individuals in the play.

The last time he came to the city was way back in 1988 with a Gujarati play. This time around he comes with an Indian play in English, does that say something about a resurgence of interest in theatre, once again? He, in a telephonic chat with Metro Plus, talks of the tradition of theatre, folk or rural, that India has had.

A group of performers gathering under a tree, for instance, a putting up a performance making a commentary on society or being tools of social change, “theatre has always been there as a medium and it undoubtedly has an edge over films and television.”

With a strong base in regional theatre (Gujarati), the resurgence of theatre in Indian English excites him. “Theatre holds a mirror to society, the socio-economic concerns, urban angst are all reflected through the medium and the revival or resurgence of the English theatre is good.” One of the reasons, as he sees, for the resurgence of English theatre is the increase in those familiar with English.

In a career spanning almost three decades in theatre, Darshan has acted in several plays in Gujarati, Hindi and English. He has acted in plays such as ‘30 days in September', ‘Mahatma vs Gandhi', ‘Going Solo II' etc.

Talking about the reach of a play in Malayalam or Gujarati, Darshan says the reach of the English theatre will be limited simply because of the numbers who speak the language. “The percentage of English speaking people is bound to be lesser than those speaking the vernacular, and therefore the reach of regional language theatre are bound to be broader.” The concerns expressed in English productions tend to concentrate more on individual concerns as opposed to social issues. “That is because the reach is limited to urban centres, people living in cities.”

Although theatre is a challenging medium, ‘one where one has to fight that sense of complacency because of the comfort level with the medium', films excite Darshan. “Probably because films are such an exciting medium, and I am learning more about the medium. This sense of being involved with the medium is excites me.” Darshan was last seen in films such as ‘Ajab Prem ki Ghazab Kahani' and ‘What's your Rashee?'

‘Conditions Apply' will be staged at IMA Hall on January 16 at 7. 30 p.m. Cochin Backwater Round Table 131 are the organisers.