'Actors have to perform in theatres because it is the gym where everything is built', says Vivaan Parashar

Vivaan Parashar, son of filmmaker Pankuj Parashar, best known for the Sridevi hit, ChaalBaaz (1989), and detective series Karamchand (1985), made his Bollywood debut with the John Abraham, Emraan Hashmi-starrer Mumbai Saga.

On World Theatre Day, Vivaan, a part of veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah’s group ‘Motley’ gets candid about where the medium stands in 2021, and why all actors need to perform in theatres before venturing into films.

Vivaan says that the theatre as a medium has always stood the test of time. Despite coming to a standstill during the lockdown, he states that it was encouraging to see shows get a full house. “Theatres are at a very great place right now and they always will be and as a true artist I think there is no better place to perform than the stage.”

Scores of newbies who have made their Bollywood debut are either launched by a major production house or use their networking to bag a lead role. However, despite being a celebrity kid, Vivaan asserts that theatre is the only medium where an actor’s craft aspects get tested, and that one should take the stage before facing the camera.

He says, “Be it your voice, clarity, diction, or eye contact, all those things come under play when you’re working, and they further get polished because it’s such a holistic medium. You learn a lot about life as well through theatre because you have to start from backstage and then you reach on stage and realise the value of every single thing. I feel actors have to perform in theatres because that is the gym for them where everything is built. There is no hard and fast rule, but yes, the stage is very conducive for a performer.”

On his decision to choose a distinguished path, he says, “My dad feels that whatever I do in life I need to be educated and trained. He’s supported me throughout. My journey has been more like an outsider but whether you are from a film family or have access or not you simply need to be trained to perform.”

He further adds, “If a person has the resources then they have a right to use to the best of their abilities. There’s nothing wrong with that. But at the same time when you do get an opportunity straight away, you have a responsibility to prove yourself on the screen so that people come and watch.”

When asked as to why do most of the theatre performers get frequently cast as sidekicks, the junior Parashar maintains that it’s an absolute myth.

“Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan also have a theatre background and they are two legends of the film industry. In today’s times, it’s more about the actor, their performance, and characters. Theatre produces actors who can play any characters for that matter and with time, given the way our cinema has progressed, we are only realising the value of that furthermore,” says Vivaan.

Vivaan considers Naseeruddin Shah as his guru, stating that the way he prepares for scenes and work, a lot of it comes from what he has observed in the veteran actor.

'Actors have to perform in theatres because it is the gym where everything is built', says Vivaan Parashar

“He’s been a huge influence on me,” says Vivaan, adding that the best tip he received from Shah was to “ignore the bad reviews and disbelieve the good ones”.

Elaborating on the same, he says, “When your job’s done the director says pack up and after that, it’s about moving on to the next project. Validation is really important for an actor, but it shouldn’t reach a point where it starts affecting the way I perform.”

The 26-year-old essays the role of Sadashiv, a gangster working alongside John Abraham.

'Actors have to perform in theatres because it is the gym where everything is built', says Vivaan Parashar

Speaking about his experience working with the actor, Vivaan shares, “It was a fantastic experience. He’s got an amazing sense of discipline, an amazing sense of punctuality, thoroughly professional, and he didn’t treat me like it was my first film. He would trust me with the scenes and I’m very grateful for that. There’s still a lot that I need to learn from him going forward.”

Vivaan is currently basking in the success of Mumbai Saga which has received rave reviews. Speaking about his desire to work with ace filmmakers of Bollywood he concludes, “Besides Sanjay Gupta, I want to work with Rajkumar Hirani, Mohit Suri, Karan Johar, Sriram Raghavan, and Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Even if they ask me to be a tree in their film, I wouldn’t mind doing it.”

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