Dabbling in different mediums

A stage for all:The actor says more venues, state and corporate funding is required to encourage performing artists. —Photo: Special arrangement  

Inside Ira Dubey’s beautiful apartment located in the heart of South Mumbai, the beautiful ‘antique’ décor is absolutely striking. “It’s all thanks to my mother,” claims Dubey, referring to theatre veteran, Lillete Dubey. Even as we settle down with a mug of green tea, the young actor swiftly takes over, talking 19 to a dozen. One of the first things she states, quite ironically, is that she wants to debunk the stereotype she has been holed in: that of a ‘posh South Bombay glam doll!’

Will Dear Zindagi do the trick? After Aisha (2010), Aisa Yeh Jahaan (2015) and M Cream (2016), Dubey will appear as Alia Bhatt’s best friend in Gauri Shinde’s sophomore effort. The Shah Rukh Khan and Alia Bhatt starrer has created a lot of buzz, both because of the unusual pairing and the ensemble cast featuring Kunal Kapoor, Aditya Roy Kapoor and Angad Bedi among others as “Alia’s gang of boyfriends”. She recalls the comfort level with the supporting cast, “We had so much fun during the shoot and became friends. The off-screen chemistry has translated well on-screen.”

Describing her own character, Fatima, Dubey says, “I play a costume stylist while Alia is a cinematographer. I’m also Alia’s voice of reason”. Portraying an independent, working girl in Mumbai is relatable, feels Dubey. The actor describes the role as very different from the one she essayed in Aisha (2010), where she played Sonam Kapoor’s best friend.

As for her experience working with Shinde, Dubey says she’s a powerhouse of energy and positivity. “Equanimity is her best quality,” she states. “She has a knack for getting along with people and treats everyone equally.” As for Shinde’s filmmaking, Dubey claims that it “strikes the balance between larger-than-life and realistic cinema”.

Dubey may not have shared screen space with him in the film but was floored by the “charming, polite, humble and very attentive” Shah Rukh Khan, who incidentally was part of Barry John’s theatre group in Delhi along with Dubey’s mother and regaled her with many stories of those days. And Bhatt, “embodies the modern Indian heroine,” she says, appreciative of her on-screen best friend. “It’s not only about the glamour but work as well. She’s cleverly shown her versatility as an actor in a very short time,” says Dubey.

The young actor, like her mother, continues to keep a foot strongly in theatre. Having worked with veterans like Quasar Padamsee, Rajit Kapoor, Shernaz Patel, Girish Karnad and Mahesh Dattani, Dubey has been in the theatre circuit for over 15 years now and has been appreciated for plays like 9 Parts of Desire and A Doll’s House .

There is ample awareness about the difference in the two mediums: “On a film set, time is money. The actor has to be prepared when the camera rolls. The director is the captain of the ship and we are mere cogs in machinery. In contrast, it’s the actor’s show on stage. Despite months of rehearsals, it ultimately comes down to the performance.” She is aware and concerned about the cheek-by-jowl existence of theatre artistes. “We desperately need more venues to encourage performing arts, as well as state and corporate funding,” she says.

The next step in Dubey’s theatre career is directing and producing plays, like her mother. The South Mumbai girl has yet another goal, which will likely delight theatre lovers, “I want to own and run a place like Prithvi Theatre in South Bombay.” Amen!

The writer is an intern with The Hindu

“On a film set, time is money. The actor has to be prepared when the camera rolls. In contrast, it’s the actor’s show on stage... It ultimately comes down to the performance,”

Ira Dubey


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Printable version | Mar 6, 2021 2:28:14 AM |

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