Years ago, when I had started theatre with Samvet (1999-00), Dhanenra Kawde was a growing and much appreciated actor among artists in Balaghat. I met him in Menboard School where Samvet used to do it’s rehearsals for Juloos (my first Play I performed in).
Later, Samvet was disorganised, actors were unhappy with Pradeep Dasgupta, and almost all artists went to join Natya Kala Parishad, I was the only artist headed to Nutan Kala Niketan because Dhanendra was there, and for me, Dhanendra was more talented than Shubhash Bhaiya (Subhash Pandoriya).
With Niketan, I did more than 10 Plays and 3 musical Plays including Laxman Rekha and Parikrama were fully based on Kathak Dance. There in Niketan, Dhanendra was an inspiration for then new generation like me, Shafi Ullah Khan, Chatan Jachak, Devesh Chaurasiya etc.
Dhanendra taught us a Sutra for being good in theatre: “Anushasan, Aatm-Anushasan aur Apne Kaam Ke Prati Eimandari” (Discipline, Self-Discipline and Honesty to your Work). Soon Dhanendra left Niketan and went to Bhopal and me with my friends were under Manoj Sharma’s influence but still, years after I remember Dhanendra’s words and try to apply in my life.
For me, as an Anarchist in political terms, it’s too difficult to obey someone else’s words as it is, but I believe an actor must obey (not blindly) his director for betterment of the production. Being Self-Disciplined, for an actor, helps to go into the character, to study the script and also to develop the understanding for the play. And being Honest to Your Work is simply result of Devotion to the Work.
Now, years after I left those theatre groups and organizations in Balaghat, I’m living in Mumbai, running for auditions looking for works in TV and Movies, I try to keep my register update with auditions I went for. It’s not to create a data of casting directors or addresses of studios/production houses but to keep myself Self-Disciplined. It makes me aware about what I’m doing and what for. I know many actors do it. They even have more addresses of production houses than me, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m not Self-Disciplined properly. Just trying to be punctual doesn’t make someone a Self-Disciplined person.
Many things are there to learn, to practice, and to achieve. The Sutra quoted above by veteran is not helpful just for theatre artists but for all.
But sometimes I need to break the rules, disciplines and self-disciplines to disturb monotonous line. I feel being desciplined makes one feel mechanized more than one following self-disciplines –That is one thing nourishes an Anarchist inside me which is seeker of Freedom in it’s Idealistic Way in my behaviour.