Sharman Joshi who started off his career with theatre will be returning to the stage with Raju Raja Ram Aur Main. After giving memorable performances in superhits like 3 Idiots, Ferrari ki Sawari and Rang De Basanti the versatile actor is all set to rev it out with the brand new comedy. Sharman Joshi will be seen essaying four varied characters in the play.
We caught up with Sharman Joshi for quick chat ahead of his play Raju Raja Ram Aur Main. Here’s the excerpt:
Q: You have been an actor for so long and you come from a theatre-oriented family. So even after you made a mark in the cinema world, how does it feel to be back on the stage after a long time?
Sharman Joshi: You just want to return to it. I have been having this longing for a while now. But it is way too hectic and demanding. I was in the field of theatre for a while. I am back on stage after 10 years.
One day suddenly over a casual conversation with friends we discussed plays. Now I have the hunger to get back to the stage and relive those memories. Theatre is more of an actors’ medium. It’s a real treat to be in front of a real audience and get their response instantly. It is also a sort of a rehab program for me. We have been part of films where stakes are high and time is limited. Sometimes, the intricacies of things may not be worked upon, depending on how prepared we are as a team. But, in theatre we can take time and work on the details. It has become a cleansing process for me as an actor, to improve myself and learn more about the craft.
Q: You have explored the mediums of film, television and stage. So apart from the technicalities, how does each experience differ for you on a personal level?
Sharman Joshi: By the time I started off with theatre, there were a lot of modern directors on the theatre scene. We didn’t follow the usual cliches that were attached to theatre like give louder expressions or speak in a loud voice. It’s more about what comes from the soul. The only challenge that I had for first time while facing the camera was instant dialogue delivery. While shooting for a film, you are asked to say one particular line without any prior connection, whereas it is totally different in theatre where there is ample time to build up a particular emotion. Shabana ji was there in my first film where I played a cameo. She, along with others helped me face this challenge. Since then I am quite comfortable with films.
Q: It might feel like choosing a favorite child, but which medium do you prefer?
Sharman Joshi: An actor is an actor. But as I mentioned earlier, theatre is an actors’ medium, so stage effectively is much of a treat to the actor. He is in command of a lot of things, of course under the guidance of a director. But the actor is not only in charge of maintaining the tempo and the pace, but also the mood and energy. So, you know that you have these added responsibilities and that’s what makes it more challenging and exciting for an actor, on stage.
Q: Your play "All the best" has been a huge success. It is one of the most-successful regional plays in the recent years. How was your experience working on it?
Sharman Joshi: Exhausting. That is one play that exhausted me. All the best happened at a very early point of my acting career. I just finished my graduation and it was a very important play for me. It was an excellent play. It was a very well-written play and I got a character who had many dialogues. The audience was my tutor. The days I didn’t get the correct response, I work harder for the next performance. In this process, you can improve yourself. So, I was really fortunate that I got a chance to be a part of All The Best.
Q: You have come a long way since then. What are your exceptions from Raju Raja Ram Aur Main? What do you think the audience can look forward to?
Sharman Joshi: The whole idea is to have good time. Firstly, we are doing it for ourselves. It is for our pleasure completely. The stakes are not so high, thankfully, and we can allow ourselves the pleasure. We are enjoying the entire process and we hope that eventually when we do setup the play and have our first performances, the audience will also have a good time. It is an extremely smart and entertaining play. It is not some theatrical genius or some great play writing. But, the story has a mass appeal. And it is sort of magical. It had an exceptional run in its the Marathi version "Sahi Re Sahi". I have done the same play in Gujarati. And the audience has given me a lot of love, in both the versions. So, I am expecting the audience to have a good time and of course, for us to have a good time too.
Q: You play four characters in the play, which is much harder to pull off onstage, because of the lack of post-production. What challenges have you faced and how did you overcome it?
Sharman Joshi: That’s the exciting part. I have done this play 10 years back, but I hardly remember the play. I can recall just a few lines and words. Now, it’s a totally new journey for me. And since Raju Raja Ram Aur Main is now directed by the original writer and the director, I am getting more insights into the entire play and the characters that I am playing. It is very satisfying for me. I found a particular character really difficult to enact when I did the play years ago. But now with the director, who originally wrote the play, I have improved myself. It was very challenging, but thanks to the good direction. I think I have found the right guru.
Q: Does working with Kedar Shinde make it easier? Or does it adds on to the pressure?
Sharman Joshi: It became really easy. I was really nervous to play the character of Raja, who suffers from a split personality disorder and talks to himself. But Kedar, who created the character, understands it thoroughly. He made it really easy for me, because he knew which route I had to take and the journey was smooth.
Q: Raju Raja Ram Aur Main is a comedy. As audiences we have primarily seen you doing comic roles. But you have been part of off-beat films like Ferrari Ki Sawari and War Chodd Naa Yaar. How did those off-beat roles help you grow as an actor?
Sharman Joshi: I really don’t think too much about it. I do things that excite me. Things that make me feel that I want to go out and work. We don’t decide what is right or wrong. One just goes with the gut feeling and enjoys the process eventually. More the love people give us, more chances I will get to be a part of many characters and films. But I don’t want to be labeled. I would like to explore different characters, which I think I am capable of portraying. It’s been interesting so far.
Q: Which theatre artist has the biggest influence on you?
Sharman Joshi: With regards to theatre, it has been my father. I have grown up in a household, where my father is an actor, writer and director. The whole environment was theatre-centric. I used to accompany him (my father) for his rehearsals. My early influence is of course, my father. Firstly, because he is my father and secondly, he was a great actor.
Q: Even after all these years in the industry, you have maintained a youthful energy on the screen and on the stage. How do you maintain that vigor in such a cut-throat industry?
Sharman Joshi: I am just doing what I do. Enjoying myself, having a good time and trying to live life to the fullest. I try to make every moment count, for myself and for everyone else around me.
All theatre-lovers of Mumbai will get a grand opportunity to witness Sharman Joshi, on stage. Reserve your tickets, here.