Imagine playing the same character for 600 shows, spread over 22 years. Well, Suchitra Pillai has been doing it, with the stage musical, l Dance Like A Man, with Lillete Dubey, Joy Sengupta and Vijay Krishan.
“Interestingly, it is only in the last 3 shows that Anant Mahadevan has replaced Vijay.”
“Both Lillete and I play the same character. While I play the younger avatar of actress Ratna, she plays the older. So it is interesting, as I have to copy her mannerisms and think how the person will evolve over time,” says Suchitra, who keeps doing TV from time to time. Her last small screen project was Ek Shringaar – Swabhiman.
“Agreed, 22 years is a long time; yet, Mahesh Dattani’s writing is so good that we find freshness every time, as newer elements are added. The humour is universally acceptable to all generations, whether you are six or sixty.”
“Also, plot themes like jealousies and living your dreams finds acceptance among modern families all over the world.”
“At first, we were worried whether Bharatnatyam would be accepted in the west, but it was, given the story,” added this highly talented film actor (Page 3, Fashion, etc.) and singer (Such is Life).
“Also, I guess we need to give ourselves kudos for maintaining our looks for so long.”
Suchitra, who has done several plays (Wedding Album, Womanly Verses and Scent of a Woman) says, “Among all the three acting mediums, as an actor, stage is the best, for you get instant reaction. There’s no need to wait for critic reviews. The butterflies in your stomach before the act starts is a different experience.”
“I regard this multiple award-winning play as one of my best works till date.”
“The best compliment I have received so far was from a London-based journalist friend who told me that I did not look myself at all and was totally the character.”
“Joy and I always make it a point to keep adding our own bit, which helps us to overcome the feeling of monotony that is bound to creep in after so long.”
“Needless to say, now I have internalized Ratna to the extent that you can wake me up at 4 am, put me on stage and I can still play her with élan,” ended she.