Theatre

Voice of everyone

Theatre Director M.K. Raina. Photo:Sushil Kumar Verma   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

Senior theatre person Maharaj Krishna Raina was recently in Varanasi as a resource person to conduct “Communication through Drama” — a theatre workshop in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, Banaras Hindu University. After the workshop , the team presented a play “Anand Bhairavi”, based on some works of Rabindranath Tagore.

Ever since he graduated from the National School of Drama with the Best Actor award in 1970, Raina has been a fulltime theatre person . Along the way have been productions like “Kabira Khada Bazaar Mein,” “Andha Yug” and “Jasma Odan,” and films like “Satah Se Uthata Admi,” “Ek Ruka Hua Faisla,” “Tarang” and “Taare Zameen Par .”

He received the Sangeet Natak Akademi award in 1995. At this stage, Raina juggles his time between theatre workshops across the country.

Excerpts from an interview.

Why was Hindi theatre unable to could not maintain its pace after your marathon efforts and contributions?

In reply, my question is, why did the next generation in Hindi theatre not create its own National School? Why are they still dependent on NSD? The National School of Drama came into existence with a new perspective after Independence. And all great institutions have their dream time. There is a natural law of growth and decay everywhere in every institution. Hindi theatre should have accelerated its pace to continue the creative scenario. They can even now begin a new innings, as you are doing here.

You are part of both films and theatre and comfortable with both. Do you experience any difference when acting in these two mediums?

Though both have different languages, both need actors. Stage is exclusively the medium of an actor while film is of the director but an actor can give his inputs.If you watch “Ankur,” “Maina aur Kabootar” or “Titli,” you can notice the statement I try to make, even in the film “27 Down.” An actor has to express the subtleties of mind in subtle ways in films. He cannot be loud as he is in theatre.

You had staged “Kabira Khada Bazaar Mein” and “Antigone” y in Varanasi in 1985. The form you had chosen was tilted more towards folk. Do you still find proscenium plays closer to folk elements?

In Kashmir today, you can go through Shakespeare in Kashmiri folk. If the language of drama is in your grip, you can do a lot with the oft-staged plays like that of Shakespeare. And folk has its tremendous appeal and power. Though folk is crude , it can touch the finer shades of human sensitivity. I am always clued in as to what is happening in the villages of Kashmir. I receive strength from the down-trodden, the suppressed, the ordinary, the simple folk full of laughter and joy, the sufferer with a smiling face, the unorganised villagers full of enormous zeal. They support and protect art. They are simple, so they can understand the depth.

In your fabulous production “Lower Depths”, you depicted this attitude always in this simplicity simple manner dramatically. What next?

I am trying to assemble a common voice from all over the world in terms of acting. I believe there must be a common thread in global theatre. In this world of globalisation and post-globalisation , we should understand the necessity of inherent truth and humanity. As we usually repeat, human emotions are the same , rather universal.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2021 10:01:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/theatre/Voice-of-everyone/article15786797.ece

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