'Theatre's not a stepping stone to Bollywood'

'Theatre's not a stepping stone to Bollywood'

Stage love

Meher Mistry walked on to the stage as a desi belle and breathed life into the Broadway version of timeless classic Beauty and the Beast in India. The theatre artiste, who is enjoying a new lease of fame courtesy the popular musical show, says she is not averse to the idea of entering the Bollywood arena, but will never forget her first love — the stage.

From Naseeruddin Shah, Pankaj Kapur, Supriya Pathak, Kalki Koechlin to Rajat Kapoor — a lot of actors balance their career in Bollywood as well as stage perfectly. Mistry also aims to do so.

Asked about her Bollywood dream, and Mistry said that she doesn’t “look at it as a transition at all”.

“I wish to act for as long as I am able to and as long as work comes to me... Yes, I want to work in all mediums but I don’t think like, ‘Now theatre is done, let’s do films’. I love to do camera work. I do wish to do films as well, but I will definitely continue doing theatre,” Mistry told IANS. Mistry, who has been associated with theatre for long and has also featured in a bevy of TV commercials, added: “I have done a little work on screen in the past and it has been a really amazing experience.

“So I wish to do both... I don’t look at theatre as a stepping stone to get into films.”
Mistry caught the attention of many post her stint in the Indian Broadway version, which was brought to India by Disney India last year. It was well received in the country, urging officials at the studio to bring on a second run.

“The show has definitely brought a lot more exposure for me. I have grown so much as an artiste. You are only as good as your last job, so you keep looking for more work and hopefully something new will come,” Mistry said.

The story of how a simple girl from a village makes a cursed prince realise the value of inner beauty and helps him break the curse, Beauty and the Beast is being brought to life on stage in Mumbai. It will soon travel to Delhi too.

Mistry, who takes inspiration from Meryl Streep’s body of work and her craft, says the live entertainment scene has enthused new life to the theatre scene of India.

“I do a lot of theatre mostly and there is a lot of money involved... You do it for the love of it and then you are always looking for other opportunities and ways to make some money. But Disney made it possible for us to devote ourselves to this project.
“I actually felt I was in some other country where it is a full time job. So in that sense, it has opened up that opportunity for actors.”

So, what is lacking from the scene at the moment?
Mistry says “money is a bit hard to get, and it is hard to get people who want to invest in the project.”

The artiste, who acted in Silvat, a short feature film, is on cloud nine post the success of the musical show. “I couldn’t have asked for a better response... I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.”