SAURABH “WRITER, ACTOR, DIRECTOR, THEATER, TELEVISION, FILMS” SHUKLA
Posted by Vivek on November 30, 2010 | 2 Comment
Every so often, Bollywood throws at us, a multi dimensional, multi talented artist. Saurabh Shukla is one such creative talent. This man can ignite a war, on whether he is an actor who writes and directs, a supreme writer who can also act and direct, or an outstanding director who also dabbles in writing and acting. The debate can be ferocious but Saurabh is not part of the very argument he initiates. He enjoys every facet of the creative process. If Bollywood has changed then for the better, then he is one of the flag bearers of that. If Bollywood has become more independent today or one that challenges norms, credit Saurabh for presenting to us, the audience, different ways of creative presentation.
Here is Saurabh Shukla unplugged.
You moved from Drama to Television and Films, do you think training that you get in Drama, in Delhi from places such as National School of Drama, trains you for Bollywood?
Any kind of practice is good before you enter the profession or field, so in that respect it is not as if you come as an amateur to your field and then you start to practice your craft there. So training in drama school gives you ample time to understand and practice your craft. Doing plays taught me a lot about timing, about interpretation and voice modulation and other things that gave me a lot of confidence. Hence when I arrived in Mumbai, I was not trying to figure out how to do things I had an inherent confidence when facing the camera. So whether you practice it on your own or whether you get trained in drama school, the point is that training never harms.
You have done it all creatively, you have written, directed and acted in films, television and theater. Which is the most satisfying?
Tough question to answer. There are two questions here, which medium do I like the most and in that medium, which part do I like the most? I totally enjoy theater but for practical reasons, in India, you cannot have a career in theater. You can’t live your life on theater. So you have to either do television or get into films. So theater pretty much remains a hobby and you can’t convert it into a profession. Now between television and cinema, television is all about deadlines, so it’s a bit of a rushed process. Cinema too has its own problems because of the magnitude of money, but Cinema takes preference for me. In terms of my role as a writer, director and an actor, I enjoy all three of them completely. You have to be a writer to be a director, irrespective of whether you write or not, cause a director is actually a story teller. So that way writing and directing are linked, and me being an actor, helps me in direction. I understand how to tackle the actors.
Your take on the state of the television industry in India right now?
Very rushed process and too dependent upon TRP’s. So nobody is sticking to the idea or premise. Week after week they are speculating on the TRP’s and what works and what doesn’t and ideas get changed too, so that is not a very enjoyable experience. If you decide to serve Moroccan food, it should remain Moroccan and cannot suddenly be changed to Chinese. But I do think that it will evolve in time.
Realism and humor even in the darkest of situations, defines your writing, for the audience?
It wasn’t a conscious effort. But I have been made aware of it by my audience. For some reason I really like Realism way more than I like Fantasy. Humor in the darkest situation is again an extension of Realism since in true life, it happens very naturally.
What’s coming up as an actor, writer and a director?
As an actor, I have Sudhir Mishra’s YEH SAALI ZINDAGI and TERA KYA HOGA JHONNY, UTH PATANG by a first time director, PETER GAYA KAM SE, by an English director who makes Hindi films and a couple of other films. As a writer, I have written for Rajat Kapoor, FATSO – AN IRREGULAR LOVE STORY, there is UTH PATANG (in which I have acted also). As a writer/director, I AM 24, PAPPU CAN’T DANCE SAALA. Apart from writing and directing I have also been doing a couple of workshops with IIT and FTII students, since it is very important for me to go back to the youth so that I don’t loose touch with reality.
Rajat Kapoor, Vinay Pathak, Ranvir Shorey and Saurabh Shukla…do we have a camp here?
(Smiles) It’s not that there is a deliberate attempt to work together time and again, but you meet like minded people and it does not happen every day, especially in Bollywood. Over time you collect people, you come in contact with people, those who understand what you are trying to say. And you form a kind of a society or a comfort zone. You meet more often, discuss more, respect each others work and you look forward to working together. In films that’s a very delicate equation cause what you are trying to say has to come across clearly. So I write for Rajat, Rajat writes for me, he’s always there in my films and I in his, Vinay is a part of us always as an actor. Ranvir is part of us so I guess there is no deliberate attempt but yes, there is a comfort zone which pulls us all together.