Jaimini Pathak began his career in Bombay in 1990 as an actor. In 1999, he turned director and producer with the formation of an independent theatre company, WORKING TITLE. His current plays as an actor/director include THE BOY WHO STOPPED SMILING, POSTCARDS FROM BARDOLI , MAHADEVBHAI (1892-1942) and WAITING FOR NASEER. In addition, Jaimini has worked extensively with school and college students across the country, conducting theatre workshops and directing student productions. He was the co-editor of PT Notes, a monthly theatre newsletter published by Prithvi Theatre, and had a theatre column with the Indian Express called ‘IN THE GREEN ROOM’. In a conversation with IWMBuzz, Jaimini reacts to his theatre journey till now, how theatre has changed in India, the importance of theatre in learning the craft of acting, and a lot more. Read to find out.
At what age did you realize that you wanted to be an actor and that theatre would be the ideal doorstep for it?
Well, I came to Bombay for the first time to do my BA in St. Xavier’s college. That was the first time I got connected to the vibrant theatre scene in the city.
You have been doing theatre since 1990 and now it is 2019. Times have changed. How do you think the theatre scenario has developed in the country?
Well, despite the financial challenges that the theatre industry faces, many young people still continue to do plays passionately. The audience too continues to watch theatre in today’s time, despite the options of watching cinema, TV or OTT platforms. Theatre simply cannot be replaced.
Apart from theatre, you have also worked with OTT giants like TVF and others. How has the experience been and what’s your favorite part of acting in a web series?
OTT platforms are a great new opportunity to tell stories that cannot be told in cinema or TV in India. The audience profile too is much younger, where people are watching the best work from across the world at the click of a fingertip. This is a good thing since Indian content needs to hold on to its own audience against some strong competition.
My favorite part to date would probably be the character of the boss, Rajat, in TVF’s ‘PITCHERS’.
How do you promote the idea of theatre and its importance in the various theatre workshops that you conduct across the country?
Theatre is a multi-disciplinary art form. Apart from acting, it involves direction, writing, stage, light, sound and costume design, production and management. I try to encourage people in my workshops to explore all these, in order to have a complete understanding. Theatre also requires a lot of teamwork, so ultimately it’s about life skills.
What do you think still makes theatre the first stepping stone towards ‘learning’ the craft of acting?
Well, I feel that the fact that one needs to perform before a live audience, without the option of any ‘retake’ like other forms or platforms of acting, still makes theatre the first stepping stone towards learning the craft of acting.
Lastly, which are your personal all-time favorite plays where you have acted?
Well, all my plays are my favorites and for various reasons. Hence, it would be very difficult to choose just one. I can’t pick just one.