on a per­sonal note with ac­tor govind namdev


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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

Photo: arun ku­mar

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