on a personal note with actor govind namdev
Govind Namdev’s performances, whether on stage or in films, are always memorable for their fine touches of characterisation, presence, style. He says he owes this to his rigorous training at the National School of Drama (NSD) and long years as a stage actor. His most well-remembered performances on stage are as Ashwattama in Dharamvir Bharati’s andhaa Yug and later as an emotive voice-over in the same play. He remains committed to the stage despite coruscating success in films. Excerpts from a conversation with SB Easwaran.
On his forthcoming movies:
among my forthcoming movies this year is Dussehra, about how politicians have ruined Bihar. i play a politician. Then there is Kashi in Search of Ganga, in which the main character, played by Sharman Joshi, is from the dom community, which performs funeral rites. again, i play the role of a politician. in Jhalki, about child labour, i am a character who goes from village to village to gather children and bring them to work in big cities, pocketing much of the money they earn. Poor villagers are seen waiting for me so they can hand me their children. one of the most positive roles i have played is in the forthcoming Junction Varanasi, as a doctor who comes to live in a village and provides free treatment. He has a mentally-challenged son and hopes people’s blessings will do the child some good. it’s a role i’ve played with sensitivity. To be released on January 26 next year is Gandhi: The Conspiracy, a Hollywood-bollywood production directed by Karim Traidia of algeria. it’s the last film in which i worked with om Puri.
On theatre in education:
i strongly recommend that students be taught theatre seriously in schools from the sixth standard. Theatre should be taught as a curricular subject, and there should be a final performance test. along with others, i have been recommending this strongly, and at last, with much reluctance, policymakers are coming around to our view.
On creativity in the digital age:
addiction to cellphones and what the internet offers 24x7 is antithetical to any creative work, which demands work, discipline, focus, inner involvement, and time. over the last 10 years or so, i’ve noticed the change in the workshops i do across the country. after class, students hardly find the time to work on the exercises, to work on themselves.
On preparing for a role:
my preparation is based on the training i received from
Ebrahim alkazi at the nsd. When i work on a character, i start with the physical aspects – appearance, walk, etc. – and then on the inner, psychological aspect. over time, i have evolved my own personal method. many of my ideas are borrowed from life. For my role as the wily, concupiscent Shriram in Bandit Queen, i picked the idea of having a towel draped over my head from my father. We lived in Sagar and my father used to wear a damp towel against the Bundelkhand heat when he came home from his shop for lunch. For the role of Bhau Thakurdas Jhawle in Satya, i looked at pictures of several underworld characters and saw that many of them had a gap between the two halves of their moustaches. i played with the idea and decided on having some white hair right in the middle of the moustache. They’d seem like a gap and yet be different.
On personal discipline as an actor:
Every morning, i devote 45 minutes to a series of exercises – stretching, asanas, breathing, meditation. For more than 30 years, i worked daily on my voice. now, i have internalised the effect i want my voice to have, so i don’t do voice exercises daily. But a few days before dubbing sessions, i warm up and prepare my voice. my teaching is another discipline that keeps me alive as an actor.
On his favourite actors and directors:
dilip Kumar is the greatest indian male actor. i admire Sridevi, who could get so many variations, so many emotions, in just one take. alia Bhatt is another favourite – so young and so talented. They let Raazi ride entirely on her shoulders! among directors, Sanjay leela Bhansali stands out for versatility – he writes, directs, composes music, puts together such grand spectacles! The new lot of actors and directors is also doing very good work. They are original and willing to experiment.
Read full interview on www.governancenow.com