Theatre

Science and stage

Actor and Director Siddhesh Dharmadhikari. PHOTO: K. RAMESH BABU  

This July, Siddhesh Dharmadhikari completes one year of his stay in Hyderabad. Looking back at the 12 months he spent here, he reckons his most memorable moments are those spent on stage. Coming from Mumbai, he expected to encounter a ‘thanda’ theatre scene in the city. “I was pleasantly surprised to see vibrant theatre shows in Hyderabad. In fact, I feel it is better than Mumbai,” he enthuses a few hours before his show at Lamakaan. He formed this opinion when a Marathi play Warya Warchi Warat by the Udaan Performing Arts (of which he is part of) staged on a Sunday saw 140 people in audience. “If people are ready to skip their Sunday morning sleep and come to watch a play at 10 a.m., they are theatre lovers,” he exults.

His love for theatre began in Mumbai while he was studying science in college. “I performed in a few inter-collegiate plays and found my calling in theatre,” he says. After completing his B.Sc., he took admission in M.Sc. Zoology, so that he could spend two more years doing theatre. But his job took him away from theatre. “For seven years there was a ‘no-theatre’ scene in my life. I could not concentrate as my job profile involved travelling,” he says.

He lapped up an opportunity to work here in Hyderabad. “Now, my job is desk-based in clinical research at Novartis. So I am able to pursue theatre,” he says. Once in Hyderabad, he met veteran theatre personality Prof. Bhaskar Shewalkar and then became part of Udaan Theatre group. His recent monologue Shakkar Ke Paanch Daane has earned him rave reviews. Shakkar Ke Paanch Daane depicts a person narrating about five people who had some influence in his life. Talking about the experience, he says, “It’s not easy to hold the audience’s attention in a monologue, as you are the lone actor performing on stage. Shakkar Ke… was an 85-minute long monologue and I was sure, people would get bored and walk away,” he smiles. That didn’t happen and Siddhesh earned appreciation for his act.

Comparing the Mumbai and Hyderabad theatre scene, he says, “Mumbai is much commercialised where actors do plays to win competitions. One tends to fall in a bracket there but here you are not competing against anyone and have the freedom to experiment,” he says. Also busy schedules of Mumabaikars do not let them pursue theatre as a hobby. “I know many people who are brilliant on stage but are not able to take time out from their work and do something on stage because of their stressful lives,” he says.

He credits his exposure in Hyderabad to Saurabh Gharipurikar, founder of Udaan Performing Arts. Now, his routine involves travelling from home in KPHB colony to office in Hitech city and then to Barkatpura for rehearsals. He hopes to continue the schedule and do more exciting projects.

“Only regret is I don’t get to spend much time with my wife. I understand her feelings,” he says on a parting note.


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Printable version | Sep 28, 2021 2:24:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/theatre/science-and-stage/article6170000.ece

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