Rajat Kapoor is an award-winning actor, filmmaker, and theatre director, but it’s the latter role that he enjoys most. “When you direct a film or a play, then you are putting forth your vision. It is your world. Also, to make a film you spend over a year of your life, maybe more. If you are an actor in a film, then your total involvement is perhaps 30 days. There is no comparison,” he says. After a successful India tour, Kapoor, is making a pit stop in Pune where two plays directed by him, adaptations of Hamlet and Macbeth, will be staged as a two-part Shakespeare Comedy Theatre fest, this weekend. The plays, which are comical adaptations of William Shakespeare’s memorable plays, stars actors Kalki Koechlin, Vinay Pathak, Ranveer Shorey and Jim Sarbh.
“Films and theatre are both very different media. In theatre, you work with actors and try to achieve an image through actors’ bodies and voice. In films, you are making an image with your cameraman, production designer, sound recordist, and editor. Actors do not play such a big role there. Also, in cinema, you do need some kind of a finished script to start work. Theatre is free of such restrictions,” he says.
Macbeth happens to be his fourth Shakespearean adaptation. “How it started between me and Shakespeare, is the fact that I wanted to understand his plays. And there is no better way of understanding them than to perform them. And he is as relevant today as he was back then, that is the reason why his plays are being done all the time, all over the world,” says Kapoor.
The director is known for his experimentation, of breaking away from the traditional form, creating a new vocabulary, with a modern style of storytelling.
While most directors have a clear vision of what lies ahead and have worked on the script before they begin a play, Kapoor says he never works on a script before rehearsals. “At best I might have a guiding image or two for the play but the rest of it is absolutely open. It is an exercise in improvisation and fooling around or clowning around with the actors, when you start discovering the possibilities of the text. The text is always supreme and our continuous attempt is to find the true meaning and emotion of the text and then find ways to express it through clowns,” he says.
On the film front, Kapoor’s film Kadakh is close to the finishing line and he has started a new film, RK/RKay, which is a crowd-funded project. Kapoor who had recently said that it is nearly impossible to get funds for good independent cinema, admits that is the reason why he had to crowdsource for his new film. “Because all conventional doors are shut to the kind of films I want to make; one must find new ways of raising resources.”
Hamlet – The Clown Prince will be staged on Saturday, 5 pm while two shows of Macbeth – What is Done is Done at 4.30 pm and 7.30 pm, will be staged at Nehru Memorial Hall, Camp, Pune