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“I have written this Act with all my heart and I hope it will touch many hearts.”
– Prankur Chaturvedi on his directorial debut, “Aalam Dost”
“What happens when a person starts hating light? When a person starts distancing people? When even air scares him? More than what, the question is why?”
These words form a part of the synopsis of the play, “Aalam Dost”, which we can find listed on Bookmyshow. We could not contain our excitement upon reading about it and decided to interview the director, Mr. Prankur Chaturvedi and actor, Mr. Pratik Rajen Kothari about this mysterious and exciting play, premiering on 14th July, 2018 at Kreating Charakters, Footlight, Mumbai at 7:30 pm.
Here is the detailed conversation between Mr. Prankur Chaturvedi (the Director and Actor of “Aalam Dost”) & Mr. Pratik Rajen Kothari (Actor of“Aalam Dost”) with our lead editor, Aastha Tandon.
I am sure everyone is asking you, what is the meaning of “Aalam Dost”?
Prankur: Well, “Aalam” means World/Universe and I don’t think I need to specify the meaning of “Dost.” So Aalam Dost means “Friend of the World.” It is an essential part of the message that we intend to spread through this act. It is an emotional story of a relationship between my protagonist Aman and his diary.
Tell us more about your writing journey. How and when did you start writing this story? Were you always sure of directing it yourself?
Prankur: I started writing this story in 2017, but left it mid-way because of my poetry shows (this happens a lot with me). When I took a break from my poetry events in December 2017, I resumed writing this and finished it in 2 months’ time. This story is very close to my heart because the instances I have mentioned in the play are either experienced by me, or people I know. So, I can exactly feel the emotions behind every word written in the script.
Initially, I did not even think that I will be directing this play. I was thinking of asking one of my friends to direct it. But by the time I completed the story, I changed my thoughts and am happy that I took that decision.
How difficult or easy it is for a writer to direct his own story?
Prankur: I don’t think it is really hard. But yes it is exciting and challenging. The satisfaction that I got after writing the script was itself phenomenal, direction took it further up a notch. As a Director, you need to manage a lot of things to ensure that the act shapes up well. So the challenge is to manage the logistics while ensuring that the creativity flows without any disruption. As a writer, you just need to manage your thoughts or rather let it flow.
Tell us about your team…the cast and the crew?
Prankur: Oh I have got a great team which has supported me immensely. The play is being produced by Pneuma Productions. My friend Smriti Subramanian is handling the logistics and media management part. She has been a great inspiration and is always ready with valuable suggestions.
Mrinalini Mishra, who is heading our lights and set design piece has done such a great job, which you will see on the 14th. Her prompt suggestions and problem-solving approach made my life easy while directing. She is brilliant at what she does.
Akash is such a talented musician. His music comes at critical stages of the Act. I am sure he will do great.
And last but not the least, my actor, Pratik Rajen Kothari. I believe, it is really important for a great actor to be a good human being as well. Pratik has that quality in him which I am sure he has imbibed from his father, the great Rajen Kothari Sir who despite being such a stalwart and a legend of the industry was such a humble man. I am really happy to work with Pratik and am sure that this is just the beginning of a long collaboration to follow.
Also, with full confidence and excitement let me say this, it will be a treat for the audience to watch him perform.
What is that one (or more than one) thing that should convince people to come and watch the play at the theatre?
Prankur: It’s a content-driven play, which will take people through an emotional journey, with poetry and music playing an important part. I have written it with all my heart and I hope it will touch many hearts.
That is very inspiring Prankur. Now, Pratik, moving over to you, what was your first reaction after reading the script?
Pratik: I connected instantly with the script. I am somebody who dropped out of MBA to pursue a career in acting and film-making. I was at a similar crossroad as the protagonist is and I crossed over to the other side. Luckily my family supported me, as you come across so many people who want to make a career in performing arts, which even in 2018 is looked upon as just a hobby and not a profession. Also as freelancers we go through phases of self-doubt and loneliness. Like Aman I too maintain a dairy and go back to it especially in my darker and emotionally charged moments.
Q. What have you learnt from this character?
Pratik: As an actor I always take away some part of the character with me. From Aman, I have learnt that one must articulate his/her feelings. In any situation one must be himself/herself.
Q. According to you, what is that one (or more than one) thing that should convince people to come and watch the play at the theatre?
Pratik: People will relate to Aman, a lot. The play makes a very relevant point. Many of my friends have remarked “ye to salary hai isliye naukri Kar Rahe hai… else we don’t enjoy this” or “you are so lucky you are in a field where your heart lies.” The play takes the audience through a journey of various emotions and leaves them with hope.
How is it working with Prankur who is making a debut as a Theatre Director with this play?
Pratik: Well this is the first time I have collaborated with Prankur. Luckily, we are on the same page and this I realized when I connected to the script. Prankur is open to suggestions. Sometimes it gets tricky when a writer directs his own material. He may not be flexible enough to incorporate actor’s suggestions. Thankfully, my director is not like that. But Prankur does keep me on my toes which is very good for an actor. I am really looking forward to our premiere show on 14th July and I hope I am able to do justice to his writing.
Thank you both for sharing your experience and thoughts with us!
Here is the bookmyshow link to book the tickets of the premiere show: https://in.bookmyshow.com/mumbai/plays/aalam-dost/ET00077823/artist