You got a dream.You gotta protect it. As Chris Gardner uttered these lines to his son in the 2006 Oscar-nominated biographical drama The Pursuit of Happyness starring Will Smith,Chennai-based theatre director B Vijay Anand was watching it in his hometown. He instantly wanted to tell the American dream story the Indian way. Only,the medium was different. He wanted to put it on the stage as a play. The film comes with such a powerful message and the day I saw it,I wanted to turn it into a play, says Anand,25,who is here from Chennai to work with an NGO and also stage the play,which is also his first independent production. The production will be showcased later this week at Punjab Kala Bhawan.
The story of a San Fransisco-based man,the film chronicled the failures of Gardners life,who loses his lifes savings in a bad business investment and then goes on to form his own multi-million dollar brokerage firm with his perseverence.
Having been through his share of struggles to follow theatre as a passion and also earn a living,Anand feels that inspirational stories needs to be told to a wider audience. Keeping the main plot of the film and not the sub-plot,the treatment of the play will be different,promises Anand,who has also taken on the role of Gardner.
I am directing the play but I am not capable of playing such an important role yet. But I think I can do justice to acting, says Anand,who has been rehearsing for the play for the last five months. In the city,he is also taking inputs from students of the Department of Theatre and other professionals from the field.
I was trying to be Will Smith on stage,but that was proving to be a drawback and many people told me that the audience would remember Smith and not feel or register my presence. So I changed the script a little. The character is now more fun-loving, says Anand. Deepika,a student of Class XII from the city will play the role of Anands daughter and wife. Anand describes the play as an experiment and is happy to accept failure too as he considers it a learning experience and a step forward to staging Romeo Juliet,his next production.