Since he was a student at St Xaviers College,Zubin Driver,now 43,had nursed a dream of bringing people together through theatre. In 2012,the ad man drew the curtains on his successful advertising career of 22 years and set up his banner Pundalik Arts Traffic Jam,an initiative to create equitable performance spaces where handicapped and professional theatre artists could come together under one roof.
An economics graduate,Driver began grappling with social activism and honing his literary skills while pursuing his masters degree from Mumbai University. The idea to set up a banner to bring together people from different socio-economic backgrounds has stayed with me right from college days. We used to read to the blind in college as part of our activity.
Under his banner,Driver held workshops for handicapped employees of a multinational company who put up a rivetting theatre performance at the St Andrews Auditorium in Bandra on November 8. The handicapped people I worked with were very enthusiastic and professional. We are trying to give identity to those that live in the marginalised sections, said Driver.
Another initiative that Driver started was after the disturbing incident on the new years eve outside the J W Marriot Hotel in Juhu in 2008,in which a girl was molested by a mob. Titled Fight-Back,it aims at long-term intervention in the space of gender violence and human rights,brings attention to important issues through online protest movements,litigation and even rock concerts organised under Music for Equality.
In 2012,Driver quit as CEO of Cell 18 and group creative director of Network 18 group to take up theatre full-time. Working in advertising has helped me fund my theatre activities. But I have always been focused on my long-term plan of using theatre for social awareness and bringing about equality, he says.
A short film,Break the Closet,made by Driver was screened at Nuremberg International Human Rights Film Festival,2013. The film features a homosexual trying to run away from himself to escape the reality of his sexual orientation. Drivers tribute to women,Devi,featured international theatre personalities in a four-part monologue. Striptease features a woman who strips herself mentally in an effort to reveal her true self. Another monologue,Sati,revisits the age-old social evil.
Driver said,I make theatre shows and documentary films to fund my personal projects. We are aiming at creating CSR partnerships that will help fund programmes to spread awareness about social evils.