'Theatre has come a long way'

'Theatre has come a long way'

She has been an actor since she was 15. A renowned personality in the theatre circuit, there's pretty much nothing that Padmavati Rao hasn't dabbled in. The artiste will soon be seen in 'Boiled Beans on Toast', which will be staged at the 'Deccan Herald Theatre Festival', curated by Sandbox Collective. The play is written by Girish Karnad and will be directed by Prakash Belawadi. In a candid chat, she talks about the 'Deccan Herald Theatre Festival' and more. 

Does the name of the play, 'Boiled Beans on Toast', connect with the history of the city?

Bengaluru is derived from 'Bendakaluru' (city of boiled beans). Yes, the play is about what was and what is Bengaluru. The play applies to any urban area which aspires to be like any other city in the developed world. There are bridges being built and metaphorically bridges collapsing between people. How one comes face to face with realities and what are the costs involved, are some of the questions being addressed in this play. 

What pulled you to work in 'Boiled Beans on Toast'?

Prakash asked me to play the lead. Though it is a powerful play, I wasn't sure about it initially. But he was positive that it would be a big change for me. It is an honour to work in 'Boiled Beans on Toast' and I am doing a Karnad play after a while. I am really glad I am a part of it.

According to you, what more can be done through the 'Deccan Herald Theatre Festival'?

The 'Deccan Herald Theatre Festival' is a festival that has been there for decades. This year's format is unique. I hope the festival continues to keep the pulse on what is needed as theatre is one platform where one can truly express their heart and mind. The festival should continue to connect to the youth across the country.

How has the theatre scene evolved in Bengaluru? 

Theatre has come a long way. There were days when we all had jobs and we would meet only in the evenings to practise. This hasn't changed for many but one can see youngsters making the choice about what exactly they want to do. We didn't have that kind of an option earlier. It was tough. The way of working in theatre has also changed a lot. We would just dive into a script earlier but now everyone does workshops before every play. This is great as it brings the team together.   

How have you been able to balance theatre and movies?

I think what has seen me through is my sense of commitment. There have been times when I committed to a theatre production and was offered a movie and had to turn it down. It is not easy. There have been other times when I had committed to a film and a good play would come along. This situation is even harder. One just learns to work around it and know what one should invest their time in. 

Are movies and plays similar or different? 

They are very different mediums. In theatre, the performance happens in a very intimate space. When it comes to films, the technicalities like closeup shots on the eyes or face or long shots all dictate to what extent the scene will emote.

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