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Once you are on stage, there is no looking back: Annup Sonii

Actor Annup Sonii on his upcoming play, Ballygunge 1990, that deals with love, betrayal and revenge.

Updated: Sep 09, 2019 16:39 IST

By Gayathri Menon, Hindustan Times Mumbai

The kindest father in the super hit TV serial, Balika Vadhu or the person who has been alerting India about the crimes happening in the city, TV actor Annup Sonii has always been a favourite among the audiences. But very few know that this talented actor is a National School of Drama graduate and has been a part of various plays. With Ballygunge 1990 set to be staged next week, we get Annup to talk about the play, the stage and his stint with acting.

The play also stars Nishtha Paliwal Tomar and is written, directed and produced by Atul Satyakaushik, who runs a Delhi based theatre company called Film Theatre Society. Talking about the play, he says that “he has been waiting for such a role” for quite a long time. “This play is a suspense thriller or a love revenge story. It is about two people, who are in love for a long time, and when one of them cheats on the other, that person is still living with that anger, seeking revenge. So, it has been almost one and a half years since Atul and I have been in talks for this play. I wanted to be part of a story that hasn’t been explored much on stage. Most plays are family dramas or comedies, or absolutely experimental. So, I wanted to do a play which is contemporary, but has a storyline that people are not used to watching,” he says.

A still from the play

Talking further about the role, he says, “My role is very different from what I have done in the past.He’s a loser in life, somebody who has no self-confidence at the beginning of the play. He has seen failures in life in almost every aspect, and his decisions have gone wrong at every turn. So, his self-esteem is very low. I wanted to play a character who is not in a very commanding position. Atul came up with this story idea and he has amazing writing skills. It is very difficult to show suspense on stage, unlike the liberties we have in movies. And he has managed that well.”

Playwright Atul Satyakaushik

Playing different characters takes a toll on your own personality. Everybody has their own process too. Annup says that these three aspects are very important. “I always believe that the writer and director give you the basic structure of the storyline, your character and your relationship with other actors, that is one aspect. Then you get your lines, which preps you even more and is the second aspect of getting into the character. And the third aspect would be the rehearsals. The more you rehearse, the more your character evolves,” he adds.

Another still from the play

Talking about his favourite part about being on stage, he says. “I feel that the power of the stage is the fact that once you are on stage, there is no looking back. So, you prepare yourself for that one moment, where the audience is only looking at you in the darkness and the lights are on you. You have to keep all your senses open and be alert all the time.”

The Crime Patrol actor says that NSD changed his perception of acting. “I was very fond of acting even when I was a kid. But my exposure was very low when it came to acting. For me, acting meant saying a dialogue. When I got into NSD, it was confusing for the first six months as they were teaching us modern Indian drama, western drama,” he says, adding, “I was like, ‘why aren’t they giving me dialogues? I want to learn acting.’ Instead, they used to make us do a lot of physical and mental exercises (laughs). Later, I realised how broad acting was and how it was not just about the dialogues. It was all due to NSD,” says Annup.

Passion is what has kept him going says the actor and that is the only advice he has to offer to young artistes. “Just don’t come to this profession looking at the glamour. People give a lot of undue advantage and importance to all these external factors. Only come here if you are passionate about acting. Success can be very short-lived in this field. But passion will sustain you for a long time,” concludes the actor.

Where: Tata Theatre, NCPA, Nariman Point

When: On September 15, at 6pm and 8pm.

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