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A man with a dream...

Actor, director and writer Sachin Gupta wears many hats with equal ease.


Now people are coming to theatres. It is not what it used to be five years ago.



LOVE FOR THEATRE Sachin Gupta

`All the world is a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages.' These famous lines of William Shakespeare continue to be quoted again and again the world over. Indian theatre and literature enthusiasts too remain as fond of the Bard of Avon as ever, but the fact remains that theatre artistes in India continue to struggle.

It would seem that theatre in the country has not got enough recognition and the reverence it deserves. Stage actors still have to do something else to earn their living. The prevailing feeling, usually accepted without rancour, is that it can be a passion but not a full-time profession.

For Sachin Gupta, however, theatre is not merely a hobby but a life in itself. In his own words, theatre is his second girlfriend. The founder, director and scriptwriter of the Chilsag Chillies theatre group, his studio is near Panchsheel Club in South Delhi.

Chilsag means creative, hilarious, innovative, learner, successful, ambitious and gagnant (winner). It was established on March 9, 2003 with the idea to deliver quality productions and to create awareness about theatre among the people. "I love theatre. I can do anything. Be it acting, writing, directing or music. Feeling is the main thing," declares Gupta, who is also a software engineer.

Editor too

He is also the editor of a monthly journal, Theatre Pasta, whose objective is to highlight the achievements of theatre people. Sachin explains, "They have done a lot of hard work but haven't got the recognition they deserve."

The periodical deals with how to start your theatre company, aspects of theatre production and education and scholarships to the commendable actors. This monthly was started two years after the commencement of Chilsag Chillies. "We tied up with a U.S. theatre firm called the Actors' Experimental Group. They support our magazine and help to get interviews and biographies of theatre artistes," elaborates the director.

Gupta has gone to the U.S., the U.K. and Canada to do research work. "In western countries actors are more disciplined and punctual, and there is respect for theatre. People came from different parts of the country to watch our play in the U.K."

The Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit awarded his play "Celebration of Life" about a young dancer's struggle to prove herself. How she pursues her dream confronting the deadly disease cancer. The play's theme was, `add life to days not days to life'.

Gupta's other plays include "Handicapped", "Suicide is Painless", "Great Mind at Work" and "No Cheating Today". The plays are in Hindi and English and cover social issues like college ragging, examination pressure, cheating and suicide, etc.

According to Gupta, plays change with time. In the 1940s, there were plays on the freedom struggle; nowadays we have plays on development. Fifty years later they will deal with other issues, he says, pointing out that theatre is a powerful medium to communicate with the masses on social matters. "It is not only about entertainment. Theatre creates awareness. Now people are coming to theatres. It is not what it used to be five years ago."

But there is no money in theatre. Gupta concludes, "You can't do theatre if you think you have to earn from it."

That one needs discipline, commitment and dedication to be a fine actor is easily understood. But Sachin Gupta's passion exemplifies the idea that being an actor is a journey, not a destination.

B.K.

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