Rakesh Bedi is a household name in theatre and cinema.
An affable actor, he has the ability to bring out light-hearted moments even in the most serious of situations. A comedian with art as his passion and Chaplin for inspiration, he has made his mark in many movies like Chashme Baddur.
When Metrolife caught up with him recently in the City, he had a plethora of thoughts to share. Rakesh has had a propensity for acting ever since his childhood, and converted his passion to profession as he went on to Pune to pursue cinema. Rakesh feels that there is a lack of playwrights and scriptwriters in the theatre industry. “A play is challenging and every role in it is difficult because it is ultimately the progression of the plot. A monologue is also a one actor’s play and poses different challenges due to constant role-switching,” he says.
He says, “One of my plays was Taj Mahal Ka Tender, which is about how Shah Jahan would came back and build the Taj Mahal today if there was a tender floating around. I play the part of the bureaucrat,” he chuckles. “It is a light-hearted play but on the other hand, it is a social comment on corruption.”
He says, “I want the viewers to realise that life doesn’t end even after being unsuccessful. While doing a play in Doha, the entire crowd gave me a roaring applause. One of the members stood up on the table and started clapping. During the interaction, when I asked him what prompted this reaction, he said that he was contemplating suicide as he was in a financial mess but the play made him change his thoughts. Though I savour every moment in my artistic journey as I learn from every act, this has been one of my biggest and most memorable moments.” He struck parallels between cinema and theater and talked about both. “A good film such as Sholay or Chashme Baddur is always for keeps but a good play has a shelf-life. In a play, there are no re-takes or re-shots. The actor has to deliver at that minute,” he says.
“The industry today is such that it is easier for youngsters to come up. There are a lot of avenues and channels where aspiring actors can hope for a good break. However, the industry is very competitive for those who are on the fray of becoming big. A lot of actors are good but to become a great actor, it requires formal school, training, guidance and mentorship. To make an impact, the actor has to touch the audience. The reason that many actors are working mediocre is because the director’s demand is bare minimum. Today, the director looks for ‘quick stuff’ rather than ‘great stuff’ and this should change. The actors aren’t being pushed hard enough,” he says.
Rakesh feels that though arts and culture industry has come a long way, a lot more needs to be done. “I feel that corporates have to come forward and spend to promote arts and theatre. It is sad that a lot of companies aren’t pitching in for their promotion,” he adds.