Paradip, Feb. 22: The 10th Canfest National Theatre festival, organised by Canmass at Paradip, began yesterday. Dulal Roy, a 1966 batch alumni from the National School of Drama, received the lifetime achievement award on the opening day.
Roy revolutionised Assamese theatre with a judicious touch of modernity and breathed new life with the use of light, music and stagecraft. He has been part of more than 80 productions. He has enjoyed a successful stint in Bollywood but quit it for his love of the stage. Now 70, this multi-faceted thespian, who has been a writer, translator, scriptwriter, producer and director, spoke to The Telegraph.
l Is theatre losing its popularity?
It is inappropriate to say so. The theatre movement is on the path of revival. Serious plays are continuing to draw large audiences across the country. Theatre always had its distinctive brand of audience. They would never sever ties with this creative form of art. I was overjoyed to find the audience response in a comparatively less urbanised area such as Paradip.
l You had a stint in Bollywood. Why did you not stick to movies?
I got a diploma in film and editing from FTII, Pune, in 1970 and joined the editing units of Rajender Singh Bedi, Asit Sen and Hrishikesh Mukherjee for their memorable films such as Dastak, Safar, Anand and Budha Mil Gaya. But my soul was with theatre where one’s histrionics and creative traits get more exposure.
l Tell us about Mahapralay: Aru Matho Eghanta, your play that was staged at Canfest.
It’s a new and fresh play. After its maiden show at Guwahati one-and-a-half years ago, the play was performed in front of a new audience here. I was glad to find that they appreciated it.
l Being in theatre for so long, how much do you think this art form has grown?
I have been often asked this and I have a simple answer. If we measure the growth with a 12-inch scale, I would say that it has grown by one inch (laughs). But yes, it has grown. It has come a long way from outdoor folk, stage play to professional onstage presentations. Despite technological shortcomings and professional pressures, amateur theatre has grown manifold.
l Do you think making theatre more professional could take away the true essence of the art?
Definitely. Talent shows have been mushrooming in almost all channels and other organisations and clubs, each promising more fame and money than the other. But what happens is true talent is lost in the process. Profession forces one to compromise with passion.
l Your thoughts on Odisha.
It’s a lovely place with close cultural and linguistic links with Assam. It is a veritable storehouse of art and culture.