Manav Kaul on his new play, writing strong headed female characters, juggling between theatre and cinema and how he enjoys life full of challenges

Manav Kaul on his new play, writing strong headed female characters, juggling between theatre and cinema and how he enjoys life full of challenges

Premiering this weekend at NCPA in Mumbai, the play 'Tumhaare Baare Mein' written and directed by Kaul explores themes of relationships, voids, fulfilment and fantasies between couples

Chhaya GuptaUpdated: Friday, May 26, 2023, 08:41 PM IST
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Playwright, producer, actor, and an author, Manav Kaul dons several hats. Manav has been in the industry for over three decades with his plays travelling across the world, the actor came more into limelight with the film 'Tumhari Sullu' with Vidya Balan. The actor has also been featured in an anthology 'Ajeeb Daastaans' with Shefali Shah, and Netflix series 'The Fame Game' with Madhuri Dixit.

In his illustrious journey with theatre, Kaul has written, directed and produced some of the successful plays including 'Shakkar Ke Paanch Daane', 'Park', 'Baali aur Shambhu', 'Chuhal', 'Red Sparrow', and 'Peele Scooter Wala Aadmi' with multiple shows across the world. The playwright turned author with intriguing books like 'Rooh', and Titli, which deals with an underlying theme of death while the former reads like a personal account of his life in Kashmir, where he was born.

The actor is back with his new play 'Tumhaare Baare Mein' after a long time. Premiering this weekend at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Mumbai, the play written and directed by Kaul explores themes of relationships, voids, fulfilment and fantasies as it brings to the stage a couple who is driven by their deepest desires. Through a blend of humour, heartbreak and raw honesty, the play provides a powerful exploration of what it means to be human in a world that can often feel isolating and confusing.

The 75-minute play took about 75 days for Kaul and his six-actor team to bring it to life for the audience. "I used to write then we used to rehearse the scenes but if I didn't like them; I used to make improvisations and then, again we used to start acting and develop play from scratch. It is a devised writing and direction. The play is complex and edgy. It is a new-age theatre and an absolute experiment," says the director.

From being a playwright and theatre director to becoming a silver screen actor, the journey has been fulfilling for Kaul. "I have been doing theatre since 1993, and storytelling, producing plays, directing, writing, acting are all part of performing arts; so I don't find much of a difference as compared to onscreen and would love to explore more," he reflects.

In his plays, Kaul represents women in a very strong light. Whether it is Aarti in 'Chuhal', or Shayar in 'Titli' the women in his plays have been subject to taking their own decisions. "I like strong-headed women and have come across many such women. I always crave to meet intelligent people. There are more stories on OTT which are women-oriented," agrees the playwright.

Apart from theatre, his journey into cinema as been equally enriching. Working with some of the A-list actors of Bollywood, Manav says, "They all are hardworking and down-to-earth actors. So, I used to end up rehearsing more which raised the bar of my performance."

Though, Kaul enjoys acting on screen, his first love remains theatre. When asked the evolution of theatre in the last three decades, he says theatre is in a good shape. "Theatre is seeing an increase in the number of audiences and is a live medium which is real, therefore, many people are taking interest in it."

How about digitisation of theatre? We ask. "I am an old school and don't like any device on the theatre. When you say things while performing live on theatre, people believe it and I like it that way," opines the actor adding that he prefers life full of challenges. "I love making my life difficult and if not challenging then it is boring. I look for challenging activities where I get that blood rush and it is exciting to me," he says in conclusion.

('Tumhaare Baare Mein' premieres on May 27-28 at 5 pm and 7 pm at Experimental Theatre, NCPA. Tickets are available online.)

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