‘We write plays for a market. We can’t get isolated in our art’

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Atul Satya Koushik 28,  Theatre Director
Atul Satya Koushik 28,
Theatre Director

You studied law and work as a chartered accountant. How did theatre happen?
Theatre has always been of interest. While in college, my friends and I decided that whatever profession we would choose, we would stay connected to theatre. Finally, in 2009, we started The Film and Theatre Society (FTS), a society for working professionals who have a passion for theatre. Today, I am its director even though my friends have quit. It is difficult to cope with both professions, it takes its toll on my time and body. Theatre is not very easy but it is very fulfilling .

How does your professional training help you with theatre?
Finance and Law help you understand the market and polity. We are not here to make jhola-chap art, we are writing plays for a market and it is important not to get isolated in your art. Theatre is about communication, team-work and leadership. These values are important in the corporate world.

You play with language and music — you adapted Animal Farm in Braj bhasha and often use Punjabi and Haryanvi dialects.
Language doesn’t just express our thoughts, it tells a lot about our ideas, beliefs and personality. Why we choose to say a particular phrase in a particular manner is not arbitrary. Haryanvi or Braj bhasha are the languages of real India. Real India is in the villages and the small towns — in terms of population and also history and culture. Also, a region’s music becomes its identity. There were times when bards went from village to village to build a connection across the country with music. I want to stage these stories, in their language and through their rich and soulful folk music.

You often deal with mythology — Arjun Ka Beta is your most famous play. Why?
Mythology, especially the Mahabharata, has immense contemporary relevance. These are human stories known to everyone. I want to talk about their morals, although I have to add flavour. However, since mythologies and epics have a lot of influence on our life, we must also constantly question their value systems.

Tell us about your latest play.
Bal Bhagwan, written by Sudesh Deepak, is a satire on our society’s obsession with ‘godmen’ and superstition. It compels you to think logically and not fall into this trap.

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