BShreyas Talpade hopes his new digital theatre initiative will create new opportunities for artists and technicians.
Theatre and performing artists who have been struggling against odds due to the pandemic have a little something to cheer about. Nine Rasa, to be launched by actor Shreyas Talpade in January 2021, provides them an opportunity to reach out to audiences across the world.
Having begun his journey with theatre, Shreyas considers the digital platform his payback time. The idea stemmed from his interactions with friends from the community. “We got many calls informing us of the tough financial situation being faced by the artists and technicians dependent on theatre. I realized if people cannot go to the theatre, it’s time to bring the theatre to them. Going digital is the future, so why not let the shows go online,” he says.
Once the idea was conceptualized, Shreyas’s team conducted a survey with over 200 people in the age group of 18-65 across the country, and almost 65% of the respondents said they either want to watch, know, and be a part of theatre. Quoting actor Naseeruddin Shah, he says, “There are pros and cons of a digital medium. We cannot replicate the thrill of performing in front of a live audience but as Naseerji said, ‘Online theatre is an inescapable part of the future.’ So, why not embrace it?”
Humans experience nine emotions or the ‘navarasas’ as defined in Indian aesthetics, hence the name “Nine Rasa.” It will be launched with Hindi, English, Marathi and Gujarati content in the first phase with full-length plays, monologues, skits, stand-up, poetry and story readings. Going forward, the platform will include Tamil, Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam, Kashmiri and Parsi.
Shreyas admits nothing of this scale can happen without help from friends. While it is a self-funded venture, he has a team of professionals — writer and director Sanjay Upadhyay, ex-programming head at Colours TV channel; award-winning director Ashwini Choudhary; renowned theatre director Vijay Kenkre; Sushant Shelar; Kritika Seth; and the tech team, handled by Rajesh Kutty and Eitan Koter –helping him.
The team put together 100 hours of content to go live with the launch. Shreyas elaborates: “This is original content and was exquisitely shot and planned over the past few months following all safety measures and social distancing rules. Renowned artists and actors including débutants showcase their talent here. The shows in multiple genres have a variety and entertainment value.”
Besides this new venture, Shreyas’s two-and-half-year-old daughter, Aadya, kept the actor busy during the past few months. He is thankful he could spend that time with her and experience the simple pleasures of watching her grow. He also looks forward to the release of his new projects — Love You Shankar directed by Rajiv S. Ruia, a Marathi film tentatively titled Mrigtrishna with Mahesh Manjrekar, and a web series, Jo Hukum Mere Aaka.
This post was written by the author in their personal capacity.The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of The Theatre Times, their staff or collaborators.