World Theatre Day 2021: From Aahana Kumra to Mithila Palkar...actors recall their first time on stage

Chandan Roy Sanyal

World Theatre Day 2021: From Aahana Kumra to Mithila Palkar...actors recall their first time on stage

The first time I went up on stage was when I was in school. I think I was in the seventh standard and the play was being directed by friend, who was also acting in it. It was a Bengali play and a silly one too! (laughs) I played the role of a cop. I was quite nervous but then, there were all familiar school teachers and friends around me. It went off quite well. People started recognising me in school as the cop from the play. Then I did a bunch of other plays and we did a few shows outside the school too. More people came up to me and appreciated my work. That’s when I realised that this is something that can get you this sort of appreciation and love. I kept doing more plays and continued doing them while in college.

(Chandan Roy Sanyal is known for his work in Hindi and Bengali films, notably Kaminey and Prague among others.)

Aahana Kumra

World Theatre Day 2021: From Aahana Kumra to Mithila Palkar...actors recall their first time on stage

My first experience of stage has to be when I was 14-years-old and I did a performance of my workshop. It was for Summertime at Prithvi. I got my first acting certificate from the late Shashi Kapoorji and it was a very big moment for me. The other time I truly remember is when I professionally performed on stage at the NCPA in 2011 for a play called By George directed by Naseeruddin Shah. I was a bundle of nerves before going on stage. However, we had done many rehearsals for it, and so the only time I felt nervous was when people started reacting to my jokes and lines. That’s not something you can rehearse. It is such instant gratification, and the most beautiful moment ever between an actor and the audience. I finished my show and went backstage. Naseer sir was standing there. I just hugged him and cried because it was so overwhelming for me to do a show where people had paid money and come to watch a play with me in it.

(Aahana Kumra is a familiar face in showbiz with movies such as Lipstick Under My Burkha and Khuda Haafiz as well as shows such as Agent Raghav

and Rangbaaz.)

Ami Trivedi

World Theatre Day 2021: From Aahana Kumra to Mithila Palkar...actors recall their first time on stage

There are two first times with me. The first one was when I was 10-11 years old. My dad (Gujarati theatre director Tushar Trivedi) was doing a play called Maa Baap which was performed in Mumbai as well as London. I was a very studious girl and not interested in acting but my dad couldn’t find a young girl to play a certain character, so I had to do it. It didn’t scare me that time because I wasn’t taking it seriously. More than the fear of audience, I feared my dad because he was the director! I was the only artist who used to fumble in every line! (laughs) The first time I did theatre commercially was with Neeraj Vora’s play Mahapurush. I was very nervous but I wasn’t showing it. The cast including Manoj Joshi and Darshan Jariwala were very impressed by what they thought was my confidence. I didn’t reply to any of them. I was sitting quietly in one corner at Tejpal Hall when Neeraj-ji came to me and said it’s so good that you are so confident and I just burst out crying! I told him I have been pretending to be confident all this while. He told me not to worry and that even if I forget my lines, the other cast members will cover up for me. Somehow, when I stepped on stage, the magic of theatre took over and I managed to deliver all my lines without forgetting. Now, theatre is like second home for me.

(Ami Trivedi has her background in Gujarati theatre and has done Hindi TV shows such as Kituu Sab Janti Hai, Papad Pol and Tedi Medi Family among others.)

Mithila Palkar

World Theatre Day 2021: From Aahana Kumra to Mithila Palkar...actors recall their first time on stage

The first time I went up on stage was when I was in school. My school was very active with extra-curricular activities and we used to do a lot of plays. The same school group went on to do many more plays and we participated in school competitions as well. At one of the competitions, I even won an award for my acting. It was a moment of epiphany when I went up on stage for the first time. I realised I had never felt this happy before. I was 12-years-old and nobody was going to take me seriously but even then, I knew the stage is where I wanted to be and that’s because of the first play that I acted in.

(Mithila Palkar is best known for her shows Girl in the City and Little Things. She has done Marathi films and also appeared in the Hindi film Karwaan.)

Sid Makkar

World Theatre Day 2021: From Aahana Kumra to Mithila Palkar...actors recall their first time on stage
Pic: Bhavesh M Bangdiwala

My first ever play was Art, originally written by Yasmina Reza and translated from the French in English by Christopher Hampton. I don’t recall the year but was in the early stages of my career, so maybe a decade ago. It was directed by Mahabano Mody Kotwal. The first show was at Tata Theatre at NCPA and it was a packed house. Was I nervous? Well, I definitely had butterflies in my stomach but I loved this play so much and we had rehearsed so hard for it. I played Serge, a pseudo-intellectual art freak and had so much fun playing him. At the end, when the audience stood up and clapped, that moment will stay with me forever. An important lesson I learnt during the play was to always visit the washroom before you go on stage, because 15 minutes into the play, I felt like going to the washroom to pee! (laughs) It’s a 90-min play with three actors on stage all the time. But I had read enough about acting and utilising whatever one is going through in the performance. So, I used that angst, the frustration and sometimes even the squirming in mine. Now before a play, you will see me going ten times to the washroom in the half hour leading up to the play. Never do I want that experience again! (laughs)

(Sid Makkar has appeared in films such as Luck By Chance, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Save Your Legs! and web series Sense8 and State of Siege: 26/11.)

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