Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): It was their shared love for theatre that sparked love between these three couples in the city and now they are life partners. On the eve of the World Theatre Day, the Free Press talked with the couples who came in touch with each other due to theatre. One thing led to another and now they are man and wife. They have been in the profession for almost half-a-century. They related their stories of love and struggle in the field of theatre and outside it.
‘Theatre is our life’
Alok and I have been working in theatre for more than 40 years. I met Alok at Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal for the first time. We both used to work in Rangmandal, a theatre wing of the Bhawan. We worked in many plays together like Aadhe-Adhure. Gradually, we started liking each other and got married after five years of love-affair. It was very difficult to run a livelihood through theatre because at that time a very few groups used to get grants. We can hardly fill our stomachs, including a son. We used to do theatre by donation and ads. After 22 years of struggle, now, we are living life well. Theatre is our life, that's why we struggled even to leave government jobs.
- Shobha Alok Chatterjee
‘Theatre is our passion, emotion’
I have been associated with theatre since 1976 and Vaishali is in the field since childhood. I met her in an event at Gandhi Bhawan. We worked together in many plays. Since we were in the same profession then we decided to get married. It was quite difficult to survive in theatre because the field had no money. Even sometimes we had no money to eat. We survived on tea and bread for a few months. We initially used to teach children in school under theatre in education and do workshops across the country. In 1982, I started Children’s Theatre and Vaishali started Arghya Kala Samiti in 1994. We had passion and emotion for theatre that’s why we survived. Our only son is also a theatre artist.
- Vaishali Prem Gupta
‘Want to carry forward legacy of our gurus’
I met Madhav at the Rangshri Little Ballet Troupe. He was five years senior to me. After 10 years, we decided to get married. We have been doing ballet, which is a part of theatre, for around 40 years. Initially, our salary was around Rs 1000 which is very less to run our livelihood smoothly. We had to face financial problems a lot but we didn’t leave the profession because we were associated with it by heart. We were so honest and dedicated to our work that money didn’t matter much. We started Kriti Ballet Performing Arts in 2009; and are teaching ballet to youth with some experiments. We want to carry forward the legacy of our gurus Prabhat Gangualy and Gulbardhan.
- Shruti Madhav Barik