Nandita Das

The actor-director on her new stage production
Neha Bhatt INTERVIEWS Nandita Das
Nandita Das
Nandita Das

Coming back to theatre after eight years?

I have only done two professional plays in the past and I have always wanted to do theatre. This time, the subject of gender inequality and exploring a new medium attracted me.

On your theatre group Chhoti Productions?

My husband (Subodh Maskara) and I wanted an outlet to explore ideas in film and theatre.

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Tell us about Between the Lines, your new play that is travelling across the country.

The play explores the relationship between a lawyer couple on opposing sides of a murder case. The idea came from a 1960s film, which was adapted by writer Purushottam Agarwal.

It’s your theatre directorial debut. Nervous?

Excited and nervous!

Tougher to direct: cinema or theatre?

Theatre is a whole different language, no less challenging than cinema.

On directing your husband’s acting debut....

He is comfortable and creative narrating stories, mimicking people. He has a natural flair for acting, but it’s his passion for theatre that gave me the confidence.

About the lead roles the both of you essay?

Shekhar is a high-profile criminal lawyer, while Maya balances work and life by drafting contracts for a law firm. It’s interesting to see how, as they fight the case in the court, their own inequalities begin to surface.

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Were your real-life experiences incorporated into the script?

Yes, absolutely. Art mirroring life can be scary and cathartic.

What were the biggest challenges?

Being the director, I have to focus on Subodh’s acting as well as my own, and be the third eye too. It’s my first project after motherhood: juggling responsibilities has been a challenge.

Are we going to see you back in films?

I recently finished a Tamil and a Hindi film. Direction requires more time, so perhaps next year I will start exploring some ideas.

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