Theatre will stay despite emerging media: Mohan Agashe

Kolkata: Theatre is here to stay and flourish with audience patronage despite the emergence of new media, feels eminent theatre personality Mohan Agashe.

"We have more choices now and the audience`s attention span has reduced. People have become more snappy these days. Earlier, people didn`t have much choice. Now you don`t ask for just a cup of coffee at a coffee shop, you want cappuccino. Similarly theatre has now many versions as competitors.

"But it was evolving. Good theatre will always stand out and attract audiences," Agashe, who also acted in numerous films like `Paar`, `Gandhi` and `Apaharan`, told PTI here.

"There lies the challenge to tailor the plays to suit contemporary taste and style. And there lies the competitive spirit which makes us work harder to attract more eyeballs in comparison with other forms of art," Agashe, who was in town for stage show of Lillete Dubey-directed `Adhe Adhure` in Vodafone Odeon theatre festival said.

The thespian, who portrayed the character of Nana Phadnavis in Vijay Tendulkar`s magnum opus `Ghasiram Kotwal`, said, "I remember how the audience sat through when we staged the Marathi play `Ghasiram Kotwal` during the `80s in Kolkata and there was a long applause afterwards."

Finding a lot of similarities between Marathi and Bengali stage plays, in terms of cerebral quotient and the passion of the actors and the audience, he said, "good theatre survives and sustains with an involved audience." Talking about great theatre personalities, he referred to Badal Sircar and his `Baki Itihas` and `Ebong Indrajit` as "one of the few landmark productions in the country`s theatre movement."

Agashe, whose first play was Rabindranath Tagore`s `Dakghar` (The Post Office), said he would love to adapt many of Bard`s plays.

To a question, the veteran actor said it was not proper for him to comment on whether it was imperative to have experiences in stage before coming to the screen.

"I would just say there cannot be a rigid vision and working with youngsters in theatre has been a learning experience for me always," Agashe said.

He rated Indian theatre on par with world theatre in terms of contents, "though we trail in technical standards."

Agashe, who would describe himself a `guest faculty member of the Adhe Adhure troupe," said he found Lillete a "very forward looking playwright, moulded in the contemporary style of stage play."

Written by noted playwright Mohan Rakesh, `Adhe Adhure` stars Ira Dubey, Rajeev Siddhartha, Anuschka Sawhney and Lillete Dubey herself.
he 12th Vodafone Odeon Theatre Festival, showcasing the very representative of recent productions in the country, will continue till November 30.