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Makarand Deshpande: Theatre is a medium about a dialogue inside you…

Makarand Deshpande is a theatre director, playwright, and actor with a contemplative, philosophical approach to his craft. He has written several influential plays that convey the abstract and surreal nature of existence. Apart from the intellectual strand in his work, his contribution towards the performing arts has been enormous, as he has been part of more than 50 plays. Makarand Deshpande spoke about his theatre journey, play writing and much more on ‘Curtain Call’ a RoundTable on Khul Ke. The session was moderated by Prachi Sibal.

Taking a trip down memory lane, Makarand shared how he embarked on this journey and his struggles during the phase, “I was a cricketer, played cricket in college. I never received a formal training when it came to acting, we have grown up watching Charlie Chaplin and at the same time I watched a lot of sangeet theatre in Marathi and folk theatre. While in college, one of the senior students approached me for acting as they knew I had acted in school and they were short of actors. They wanted someone who could speak marathi and told me to try it out. I gave it a shot, and the director was so pleased with my performance that he increased the length of my role. I have acted in languages across Hindi, Marathi to Gujarati. I made a theatre group (platform performance) which performed outside the Prithvi Theatre near the steps and the audience have thoroughly enjoyed these performances.”

Dream Man was Makarand Deshpande’s first full length play where one part of the play was performed in 1992 and then later on in 1993. Makarand wrote it as a full length play in two parts and from thereon, he has written two to three full length plays every year. However, early on his career he was criticised for writing and was labelled to be too abstract.

Speaking on the challenges of today’s playwriting Makarand added, “Theatre according to me is a medium about a dialogue inside you and not per say the research. The problem with playwriting is that people don’t write what is happening in the mind of the characters or what is the situation, understand it and think how can you say it with metaphors. It’s like poetry which when brought on stage becomes prose and then one uses theatrical language to reach out to the audience.”

Makarand is also known for his exemplary work in films like Swades, Makdee and Fame Game. His popular theatre plays are Ram, Gandhi and Sir Sir Sarla.

Talking about his one of the most beloved play Sir Sir Sarla, Makarand shared, “Sir Sir Sarla was a game changer for me. This was one play that I wanted audience to understand and once they saw the play, they were in awe of it. Sonali Kulkarni played Sarla. Renowned directors like Sudhir Mishra, Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Ram Gopal Verma saw the play and appreciated it.”

Makarand will be seen in the upcoming films Shoorveer releasing on 15th of July, Dagdi Chawl 2 releasing on 18th August, Liger on 22nd August and he is also busy with staging his ongoing play Balatkar across the country.

Source: Khul Ke

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