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After 18 years in films, Saurabh Shukla returns to where he had started — theatre
LIKE many others of his ilk, Saurabh Shukla's first brush with acting was born out of his love for the stage. In 1991, he joined the National School of Drama (NSD) Repertory Company — the professional wing of NSD — as an actor. Later, he gravitated towards cinema.
Shukla was soon signed for Shekhar Kapoor's Bandit Queen (1994). He has played several memorable characters in movies and on television ever since. He has also directed films such as Pappu Can't Dance Saala (2011) and I Am 24, which releases this month.
In spite of an impressive filmography, Shukla sounds elated at the prospect of returning to theatre after 18 years with Two to Tango, Three to Jive. He has directed this production where he also plays the lead. "Unlike films where you are bound by the camera, here you are unchained as an actor," he says.
According to him, one who has tasted the charm of theatre will always yearn for it. "Movies are a more economic option, but the rewards that theatre gives you are priceless. I've been craving to return to the stage," he adds.
Two to Tango, Three to Jive is an adaptation of American playwright Neil Simon's Last of the Red Hot Lovers — with the characters and language drawn from the milieu Shukla grew up in. "I didn't want to make a shallow, humorous production; the connotations and culture of my Delhi surroundings helped me infuse realism into it," he says.
Shukla plays the protagonist, Parminder Sethi, a man suffering from a midlife crisis, who has hilarious encounters with three women with whom he attempts to have an affair. "A man going through a midlife crisis wants to do something radical — desperately — like excessive drinking, smoking and, of course, affairs," he says.
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