Playwright-director Gopal Sharman lives on, not in body but in spirit. It’s been a little over a year since his demise, but even today, if you entre Akshara Theatre—which he founded—his presence lingers. In his memory, the first Gopal Sharman Theatre Festival is being organised. As part of it, Akshara is presenting a selection of its most entertaining plays, along with new ones.
The repertoire includes The Cabuliwala, Revised Kama Sutra, Let’s Laugh Again and Break-Up Boyz. A fresh offering his Abducted. In it, a wealthy young woman is abducted and held for ransom. In this deadly game, only the most twisted can survive. “Considering the circumstances, my character ends up losing the most. He is the least sinister about the whole thing. Vir’s story has a tragic undertone and an end,” says Vikalp Mudgal, the protagonist, and also one of the abductors.
Had Sharman been alive, Mudgal believes he would have keenly watched the play, pointing out even the minutest errors. “He would often close his eyes and droop his head. One would think he is asleep, until he would look up and correct you on some mistake or mispronunciation. The script and its enactment was part of his deepest consciousness. This is just evidence of his unadulterated passion for art which eventually transformed in a kind of spiritual meditative state,” he says.
The same attention to detail reflects in the carvings on the walls of Akshara and resonates in its woodwork. “For me, he is not only immortalised in memory but also matter,” says Mudgal. On till August 27. The schedule is available on aksharatheatre.com