Saurabh Shukla: The characters I play are like my girlfriends, all close to my heart

By Manju Mittal

The multitalented Saurabh Shukla is a respected actor- writer and director.   Saurabh who hails from Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, has been entertaining audiences through films, television and theatre for the past 25 years. Having started his career in 1994 with Shekhar Kapur’s ”˜Bandit Queen’ Saurabh has acted in various film such as Satya, Barfi, Jolly LLB, PK, Slumdog Millionare and Raid. He is also known for his powerful performances in TV crime serial ”˜Tahkikaat’.  In 2013 he won the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor for the film Jolly LLB2.

Saurabh Shukla will be in Australia for the theatre drama ”˜2 to Tango 3 to Jive’ in February, he is not only the writer of the play he is also playing a lead role in the play. In a candid and confident telephonic conversation while he was quite busy travelling for his film shooting interstate. Saurabh shared his passion for theatre, his views about his personal journey as we touched many other aspects of his busy life. Following is the interview he gave to The Indian Down Under.

How do you feel about your upcoming theatre play ”˜2 to Tango, 3 to Jive’ tour to Australia and New Zealand in February 2019?

First of all, I am very excited as this is my very first trip to Australia. I am extremely happy after a successful tour of various countries ”˜2 to Tango, 3 to Jive’ is coming to Australia in February 2019. This is a great pride for all of us to bring this comic humours play to Australia and NZ audience. I am very thankful to Rass Media presenting this play in Australia. My friend Vijay Gumber has been very kind to me. He is very friendly and dear to me.

What inspired you to write this play and also your character in the play?

I always wanted to do a play that can reach the masses so I decided to do a comedy. That was the most important aspect to write this play. This is the play about the mid life crises. It is very common that men encounter mid age crises. I realised that after 45, men begin to change. Radical people become religious and god fearing. And those who have led a straight life start drinking smoking or try having extra-marital affairs I thought there must be some biological reasons for this. After all you are moving into a phase when your body is not as agile as it was and your hormones go down. That’s how I inspired to write this play.

I play Parminder Singh Sethi, a man who is desperate to have an extra-marital affair just to stir things up in his boring life.

What do you offer to your fans with ”˜2 to Tango, 3 to Jive’?

I hope to discover great audience in Australia. This play has been very successful everywhere we went.  It’s just such a lovely light comedy, it’s not heavy basically conflict between men and women, the audience laugh, feel sorry about the character and all different kind of emotions, this play has lots of twists and turns to it.  If you like a good laugh, a real good time well, then this is for you.

What difference do you feel in two mediums theatre and films?

I love both equally but yes I love acting on stage more than in front of camera. There is difference proximity to the audience. Because in theatre you are always in a long shot but in films the camera comes so close that it almost touches your face. Theatre is live medium for the performers and the audience.  Theatre is very open to experiments of ideas. On the stage you are far away all the time. In theatre it’s easy because you have done it hundred times in the rehearsal. It is about positive and meaningful interaction between performers and audience.

Which character you enjoyed most in your entire career and what has been your greatest achievement?

Well, I don’t feel I have achieved much at all, my greatest achievement yet to come, there is so much to learn, so much to explore. And secondly I tell you a secret, never ask actors about their favourite character because for actors, characters are like girlfriends ( laughs ) so all my characters are close to my heart. I am extremely grateful to be offered varied roles from different kind of directors which has fulfilled my desires.

 What projects do you have in hands now?

I am currently shooting for a film in Delhi now.  It is called ”˜Turramkhan’ which is directed by Hansal Mehta. I am absolutely excited about this film. After this film I will go to London for another film shooting.  I am also doing a big film in February under Yash Raj Productions ”˜Shamshera’ with Ranbir Kapoor.

Could you say a few words to your fans living in Australia

I am coming to meet you all in Australia with my play ”˜2 to Tango, 3 to Jive’ which is presented by Rass Media. I hope to see you all, I would encourage everyone to come and watch ”˜2 to Tango, 3 to Jive’ on February 16, 2019 in Sydney. And also I would like to thank all my fans who have watched my theatre dramas, films and television shows that I have been in.

It was pleasure interviewing Saurabh Shukla. We sincerely wish Saurabh ji best of luck in all his future endeavours and looking forward to watch his live performance in February 2019 ”˜2 to Tango, 3 to Jive’ Australia and NZ tour.

”˜2 to Tango, 3 to Jive’ will be staged on Feb 16, Saturday at Sir John Clancy auditorium UNSW at 6 pm.

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