Theatre should work independently, says thespian Saurabh Shukla in Patna  

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(Right to Left) Indian film actor Saurabh Shukla, former teacher at the NSD Robin Das and Founder of House of Variety Suman Sinha interacting with the media in Patna on Thursday.  
| Photo Credit: Amit Bhelari 

National Award-winning actor Saurabh Shukla on Thursday called Bihar as his second home while praising the talent of the State in the theatrical arts. Although this was his first visit to Patna, Mr. Shukla stressed that he would visit Bihar at every opportunity, and would even stage his theatre shows in the State as well.

Mr. Shukla was in Patna for the inauguration of the House of Variety, a burgeoning hub for all things theatrical, cinematic, literary, and beyond. It is also a site to create meaningful opportunities for aspiring artists and enthusiasts in the fields of art and culture.

“This is a new city for me, and I interacted with the people of Bihar, and got the opportunity to know their aspirations during the workshop today in this premises. I am fortunate to meet the people of this State. Now the audience of Bihar will be able to see more theatrical performances through this House of Variety. Whenever I shall pass through this State, I will have a second home in Patna,” Mr. Shukla said.

Mr. Shukla who is also a screenwriter and film director stressed that artists should not be artificially divided and should instead be understood as artists on the whole.

“Bihar has a rich history of art and culture, and there is no dearth of good artists in the State. Several theatre artists have made their names in cinema and are doing great work. Be it Pankaj Tripathi or Manoj Bajpayee, they all are from Bihar,” Mr. Shukla said.

Mr. Shukla supported the idea of allowing theatre to work independently, and stressed for theatrical freedom liberated from the censorious gaze of the State. 

“There are several countries where theatres run on the grants of the government. However, the places where theatre and cinema has made its mark is where it freely engages in its industry. This allows it to have a measure of autonomy in its creations. However, if theatre and cinema are to work under the State then they logically would have to follow the strictures of the State policy. In this situation, the State would guide the kind of films and plays that would be produced. So, theatre working independently will have more rights and as a result produce finer ideas,” Mr. Shukla said.

The founder of the House of Variety, Suman Sinha is the nephew of Shivendra Sinha, an 1957 batch alumnus of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Mr. Suman Sinha started the site with the guidance of Robin Das, a theatre personality and former teacher at the National School of Drama (NSD), along with Prakash Punj and actor Vineet Kumar. Mr. Kumar is an established actor who has worked in several Hindi movies and web-series.

“This place is equipped with state-of-the-art lighting and sound system where theatre artists will have good experience while staging their shows. Even the theatrical performers hailing from other States can perform in their regional language. For instance, theatre artists from Kerala and Tamil Nadu can perform over here for Bihar residents who understand the language,” Mr. Suman Sinha said. 

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