As HT City celebrates its 25 years, actor Pankaj Tripathi recalls how it also marks his journey of 25 years in theatre, from the time when he first performed for the debut edition of Bharat Rang Mahotsav (BRM) at the National School of Drama (NSD) in Delhi.
“Uss samay NSD ki library mein HT City padna shuru kiya tha… Kitna sukhad sahyog hai ki humara rangmanch (theatre) ka safar 25 saal ka ho gaya hai aur HT City bhi,” says Tripathi, who is the official Rang Doot (brand ambassador) of this year’s BRM, which begins across India today.
This is the first time ever that someone has been appointed in this capacity by NSD, and Tripathi feels “excited” to play his part in popularising theatre with his alma mater.
For someone who is full-fledgedly working in films, it’s rare to lend support to theatre. Tripathi says, “Maine accept kiya Rang Doot banna kyunki mujhe laga ki cinema ke popular hone ka fayda [uthaun]… Mai theatre se aaya hua abhineta hun toh theatre ke liye nayi audience jodun. If new audience starts watching theatre due to me, toh mujhe lagega mera prayas sarthank hua. Kyunki theatre ki live performance ka sukh alag hi hai. Jaise Bharat Muni ne kaha thaa, natak hummein ullas, anad aur gyan bharta hai.”
“Log reels kitne dekhte hain, par do ghante pehle dekha hua yaad nahi rehta,” says the actor, compelling people to acquire the habit of watching theatre and purchasing tickets for it. Raring to return to the stage, he adds, “Aap jis bhi shahar mein hain, jaiye play dekh ke aiye…. I’ve been away from the stage for about 4-5 years now. I haven’t performed, but I watch at least 10 productions a year across India. This year, I want to perform live. Mujhe stage bula raha hai.”