One stage to another

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By The Telegraph Online in Mumbai
  • Published 7.11.05
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A moment from Junoon, the script of which was written by Satyadev Dubey

After working non-stop for 45 years, Satyadev Dubey feels he has had enough of the stage. Currently busy adding the final touches to what he calls his ?last play?, Dubey told Metro from Mumbai: ?Sure I intend to write one other play but this one, tentatively called ?Prashna, Prashna, Prashna?, is a kind of a testimony to all my experiences as playwright, actor and director. It is in the form of an interview, but it happens during a workshop, like the thousands I have been taking in Pune, Mumbai, Calcutta and other places. Anyway, in this play are several boys all of whom of course become me. I have done everything, won all the name and fame I care for, so I think it is time that I did something for myself. I need to make my own life exciting.?

Coming from a stalwart like Satyadev Dubey, these words do not seem pompous. Born in 1936, Dubey has reeled of hundreds of fine productions ranging from Andha Yug (1962) to the latest Raincoat For All Occasions.

He has been a teacher at National Institute of Drama and he has for years also conducted regular training sessions, most of them for free.

But his links with cinema have been just as strong. He has written scripts and dialogues for Shyam Benegal films like Ankur, Bhoomika, Junoon, Nishaant, Kalyug and worked in various capacities with Mahesh Bhatt.

Dubey has been the acknowledged mentor of a long list of actors/directors like Amol Palekar, Amrish Puri, Govind Nihalani, Sonali Kulkarni and others. He also has to his credit two short films Aparichay ke Vindhachal (1965) and Tongue In Cheek (1968), and one feature film Shantata Court Chalu Ahey (Silence! The Court Is In Session),written in Marathi by Vijay Tendulkar. More recently, he appeared in Makrand Deshpande?s Hanan.

?The world is changing and one has to move with it, forget the old ways and discover new goals,? said Dubey. So, along with the plays, he is building up a collection of film scripts that he himself would like to direct.

?They are all commercial films with titles like Come Dream With Me, Baap Beti Aur Woh and Teen Betia ek Baap. I am keeping them ready just in case I find the right producer. I am not choosy about the actors, the producer can decide that,? explained Dubey.

But is it disappointment or disillusionment that is making him turn away from theatre? ?Nothing of the sort. I have had very good experiences both with theatre and cinema and I have never had any problem handling young people even when I couldn?t speak their language (like in Calcutta some 12 years ago),? stresses Dubey.

But Dubey has been steadily reducing his theatrical load. When Raincoat... opened in January it had Trishla Patel and Satyadev Dubey in the two leading roles of teacher and student. But now, Dubey has passed on his role to Hidayat Swami (one of his proteges). ?Hidayat is a good actor and I just can?t balance production and acting responsibilities anymore,? argued Dubey.

And will his ?final? play come to Calcutta? ?One simply doesn?t know what can happen, after all I have many good friends in Calcutta like Shyamanad Jalan...?