He wears many hats – he is a theater director, a playwright, a writer and has also acted in Bollywood films like Tumhari Sulu, City Lights, Jolly LLB 2 and Kai Po Che!. Ask him the medium he enjoys the most, and Manav Kaul says “all” as he confesses that he “gets bored very easily”.
“So I am writing this entire month, and then I will get back to acting for six months and wont even think about writing. It is a privilege that I can indulge myself in 2-3 things, because if I would have been just a writer, then I would have given up writing long back. If you give me only one thing, I will leave that thing in a year. Everything complements everything, and I give my 100 per cent to whatever I do at that point,” says Kaul, whose story Prem Kabootar will be performed at the ongoing Summer Theatre Festival at Shri Ram Centre for Performing Arts in Delhi.
Directed by Sameep Singh, a graduate from the National School of Drama, the two-hour long play is set in a village in India and narrates teenage love in pre-mobile/pre-WhatsApp era through three friends who wish to express their love through love letters.
“I am from a small town, Hoshangabad, and have seen love in times when there were no mobile phones. I have seen how there was a time when the high point of being in love was just receiving a letter, or a boy (or girl) accepting friendship. It is a very innocent story which has a lot of layers. It will take you to moments that you may have lived sometime in your life” shares Kaul, who penned the story in 2016-17.
But how comfortable is he with the idea of a director incorporating changes to the narrative?
“I am a copyleft person; I don’t see to it that whatever I have written (is changed or not). It is actually the director’s interpretation of the story, and he can add, subtract, and can even rewrite the story, and I would not mind. It is so because its his world you are going to watch; if you want to see my world then you will read the story. But I don’t watch my plays; I know that people are performing my stories and plays, and it feels great,” says the actor, who was nominated for Best Supporting Actor Award for Tumhari Sulu at the 63rd Filmfare Awards.
While he enjoys all mediums, when it comes to telling stories, Kaul shares that he is thoroughly enjoying the short story format at the moment. “I have been a playwright for the longest time. But personally, I am enjoying the short story format at the moment because it gives me a lot of freedom. Like currently, I am in Europe and writing short stories,” he tells indianexpress.com.
“Also,” he continues, “The format allows you to develop a direct connection with the reader because when I read someone’s book, I tend to feel a personal connection with the writer – the kind of connection I like to have with readers who like my writing. Also, I am an instinctive writer – I do not plan my stories. I start writing, and the story just flows. So there are times when my writing surprises even myself!”
He, however, points out that he does not like giving out any messages through his stories. So do his stories reflect incidences from his own life?
“Of course they are coming from my experiences that I have lived or have wanted to live, but you know, life is so boring that if I actually write something about my life it would be very, very boring. Thank god there is fiction, and you can make up stuff and make it read good.
Prem Kabootar will be performed on June 11 at Shri Ram Centre, 4 Safdar Hashmi Marg, Mandi House, New Delhi at 7 pm.