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  Life   Food  12 Nov 2016  In the spirit of banter

In the spirit of banter

THE ASIAN AGE | DYUTI BASU
Published : Nov 12, 2016, 1:42 am IST
Updated : Nov 12, 2016, 1:42 am IST

As he prepares to premiere his next, Chuhal, today, Manav Kaul talks about writing from the point of view of a woman, rediscovering acting.

Rohan Sanjay
 Rohan Sanjay

After a three-year hiatus from playwriting, theatre personality Manav Kaul is back with his new play. This time though, he is stepping out of his comfort zone of introspection, with a romantic comedy titled Chuhal, which means light-hearted banter. The theatre director, who is among the now-rare group of original play producers, is sure it will touch the audience’s heart.

“Everyone understands love, everyone understands relationships, but it manifests differently every time, with every point of view and that is the experiment of it,” he says. However, he is confident that the play won’t become a run-of-the-mill romance, despite its tried and tested boy-meets-girl theme. “Two people meet, fall in love, discover what that means but then its my play, an aRanya play, so there are a lot of surprises,” he laughs.

The play is set circa 1994, because that’s when the actor-director experienced his own first relationship. So is the play autobiographical, we ask. Manav says with a laugh, “Every writing is autobiographical. I can’t write about what other people think. I always write about what I have lived and experienced. But in writing, you write something you haven’t lived. So an element of the ‘what if’ comes in. So, it is not about my boring life, it is much more interesting, because it is ‘what if’.”

Sugandha Garg essays Arti, and Manav himself plays her love interest in Chuhal, Sudhir. His act as Sudhir, a small-town schoolteacher, eager to get married, is the first character Manav’s playing on screen since 2004’s Peele Scooter Waala Aadmi. “I came to Bombay to become an actor but by 2002, I got bored of it and started directing. I only did Peele Scooterwala Aadmi in 2004,” he recalls. “Around 2013, I rediscovered acting with Kai Po Che and the other films and I started really enjoying it. The rediscovery was amazing, so I thought I’d take a chance and act.”

Besides taking up the challenge of acting in a play after a long gap, this is also the first time the playwright has written a story from a woman’s perspective. “I tried something similar when I wrote Lal Pencil, which was from the point of view of a small girl. But it was very challenging, of course. The fun part is that you discover a feminine side in you and as a writer, it is quite interesting to see that there is so much in you that resembles a woman’s way of thinking,” says Manav.

Having started his theatre group, aRanya, back in 2004, Manav has now become one of the most well known playwrights in India. Looking back over the past decade of theatre, Manav is optimistic about the increasing participation of the youth in theatre. “The youth participation in theatre, especially since Thespo (a youth-based theatre group, which does experimental plays), is very encouraging. A lot of new blood is being infused into theatre and that means new ideas that push the boundaries of understanding. I want to be a part of that movement and keep writing new and exciting plays till the day I die,” he declares.

Chuhal premieres today with shows at 12 pm, 7 pm and 9 pm at Prithvi Theatre, Janki Kutir, Juhu Church Road. Tickets: Rs 500

Tags: comedy, theatre