It’s in her genes. Both the parents of Sanjna Kapoor Jennifer Kapoor nee Kendal and Shashi Kapoor have been part of travelling theatre companies. In fact,Jennifer and Shashi met for the first time in Calcutta in 1956,when their parent’s touring theatre groups,the Shakespeareana Company and Prithvi Theatre respectively,were performing in the same city. So when Sanjna sent out letters to theatre groups on Thursday announcing that she would form a company called Junoon,which will bring back the culture of touring theatre groups in India,it became clearly that she is keen to follow her legacy. Junoon is set to make its debut next year.
With the exciting news of Junoon’s birth comes a shocker–from April 1,Sanjna will cease to be the director of Prithvi Theatre,located in Mumbai’s Juhu. Her brother Kunal Kapoor,its former director who currently holds the post of its Trustee,will once again step into the role. To be able to focus on Junoon and give my family time,I need to step back from my involvement at Prithvi Theatre, announces Sanjna. She,along with Sameera Iyengar,is currently in the process of setting up Junoon and its programmes.
Sanjna has been talking about travelling with plays for a long time, says Iyengar,Festival Director of Prithvi Theatre. Iyengar,however,adds that though it is difficult to pinpoint what triggered the decision,their aim is to ease the limitations that various groups face while performing plays in India. We wish to fill the gap of not having a general tour circuit in India. We will be curating theatre tours across India,setting up shows and building audience, she adds.
Some time ago,Sanjna had presented a paper where she had made a case for energising theatre venues,akin to what she has done with Prithvi. She offered to partner in holding performances at these venues. Junoon is a product of our years of work at Prithvi. It has made us realise that there is a huge lacuna in our work field,which we wish to fill as that of the enabler, says Sanjna. She explains her new role as someone who enables theatre to reach its deserved audience and likewise enables audiences’ access to quality theatre. According to her,the four main strands of work in Junoon are going to be youth connect,touring theatre,energising venues in Mumbai and consultancy.
In a joint letter,Sanjna and Kunal said,There are many more avenues for promoting and improving Professional Theatre in India. Maybe too many,to be addressed under just one umbrella. So,to widen the horizons of promoting Professional Theatre,Sanjna will move on to set up Junoon. Junoon,they hope,will create new avenues for strengthening theatre in the country.