‘So­ci­ety finds it dif­fi­cult to ac­cept hon­est peo­ple’

Hindustan Times (Ranchi) - Hindustan Times (Ranchi) - Live - - FRONT PAGE - An­jali Shetty ■ an­[email protected]

Ac­tor Shekhar Su­man is cur­rently busy play­ing late Urdu writer, Saa­dat Hasan Manto in Rand­hir Ran­jan Roy’s Ek Haan, which show­cases the var­i­ous stages of Manto’s life. The ac­tor shares that the pri­mary rea­son why he said yes to the role was be­cause he con­sid­ers himself a lit­er­ary per­son. He has been a writer and a poet too. And, more im­por­tantly, he grew up read­ing the works of Manto, among many other writ­ers. How­ever, while pre­par­ing for the play, he refused to watch any films based on the char­ac­ter for references. “I did not want any other ac­tor to in­flu­ence my ap­proach to­wards the role. I wanted to avoid that,” says Shekhar, who will soon be per­form­ing in Pune.

He adds that it is al­ways “in­ter­est­ing and chal­leng­ing” to play a char­ac­ter as lay­ered as Manto or as com­plex as Sahir (Lud­hi­anvi, in the play Ek Mu­laqaat). “Manto be­came con­tro­ver­sial be­cause he called a spade a spade. He was hon­est and would not mince his words. He ex­posed the du­al­ity and hypocrisy of our so­ci­ety. Peo­ple would cringe at what he wrote and try to push those top­ics un­der the car­pet. But he stood his ground and did not care about what the world had to

say about him. He was un­apolo­getic of the top­ics he wrote on. I tried to dig deep on these char­ac­ter­is­tics while prep­ping for the role,” he says.

He shares that he has al­ways been in­trigued by these char­ac­ters and re­lated to Manto as well as many oth­ers. He says, “Hon­estly, when you stand up for some­thing, you are of­ten mis­un­der­stood. You don’t get your due. There is al­ways a thirst of ac­cep­tance. I was of­ten mis­un­der­stood. I my­self am con­sid­ered brazen and bru­tal with my words. I be­lieve in speak­ing my mind and the truth rather than ly­ing. So­ci­ety finds it dif­fi­cult to ac­cept hon­est peo­ple. They tend to side­line them. I see these sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween such roles and my­self. So, the mo­ment these roles came to me, I knew I had to do them. I could not let them go.”

Shekhar feels be­ing anx­ious is good for an ac­tor’s psy­che. “If one isn’t ner­vous about his or her role then some­thing’s miss­ing,” he says, adding, “I am quintessen­tially a stage ac­tor. The stage is where you come alive. Films are a collaborat­ive ef­fort. Theatre, on the other hand, is a bat­tle to be won alone. I am not de­fy­ing the im­por­tance of a di­rec­tor, but as an ac­tor, the spot­light is on you, and the stage gives you the lib­erty to grow with ev­ery show.”

PHOTO: SAN­JAY SOLANKI/HT

Shekhar Su­man

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