'Theatre is always challenging'

'Theatre is always challenging'

Creative calling

Beginning his journey as an actor with television serial Chunauti while still in college, Arif Zakaria has over the years worked in various movies including Earth, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose: The Forgotten Hero, Lootera, Haunted - 3D and Krrish 3. He is now all geared up to essay a role heavily-inspired by legendary actor-filmmaker Guru Dutt in theatre director and writer Saif Hyder Hasan’s Gardish Mein Taare.

“I started acting in theatre as an amateur when I was still in college. However, in 1989, I got to play the role of a student in Chunauti which used to be aired on Doordarshan. The serial went on for about 22 episodes, and that was the impetus,” says Zakaria.

While he acted in various films in-between, Zakaria got busy with Merchants of Bollywood, a musical show which has been performed across the world, and ended up being away from the Mumbai stage until Gardish Mein Taare came his way.

“I got to know Saif, we started talking, and he sent me a script. That is how it all began. He is cinema literate, has theatrical sense and is like a mini encyclopaedia. I have been doing films, but I thought it would be a good idea to take up a complex and multilayered character. And theatre is an ongoing journey, where you discover yourself with each performance,” says the Agent Vinod actor.

Describing the medium as “challenging” where “there is no scope to even bat the wrong eyelid”, Zakaria says the role interested him as it came with “additional responsibilities”. “When you know there are only two people on stage and all eyes are on you, you have that sense of additional responsibility to perform your best,” he says.

The play, which also features actor Sonali Kulkarni, is a story of love and longing and is inspired by the turbulent times and relationship shared by two creative geniuses – Guru Dutt and his wife Geeta Dutt.

On the nature of research that went into his character, Devdutt Bose, the artiste tells Metrolife that since the script is well-edged, he just has to transport himself back to
that era.

“I just imagine myself in those times and lay emphasis on how people talked and communicated then. Unlike now, there was a certain sense of unhurriedness in people then, which I have to bring out in my character,” he says.

Ask him about his choice of roles, and Zakaria is quick to say that while he may not have done commercial roles, he is fortunate to have gotten the opportunity to play varied characters. “But in the end,” he says, “as an actor you have to make the most of what is thrown at you.”

‘Gardish Mein Taare’ will be staged at Epicentre, Gurgaon on July 2 at 5 pm and 7.30 pm.

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