BENGALURU: It was in the year 2014 that Dr Debanjana Nath was performing on stage at a college cultural event. Little did the 33-year-old doctor realise that it would be a launchpad for her journey as a theatre artiste. An independent general physician, specialising in skin and hair care, Nath attends to at least 40-50 patients through online consultations on a daily basis. However, she engages in online play readings and script writing sessions with her theatre group during the evenings.
Trained and mentored by renowned theatre artiste, late Ratan Thakore Grant, Nath is a theatre artiste by dusk and a general physician by day. As an introvert, Nath believed that stage performances actually help her open up and ease social interactions. “Cultural performances during my college days were the trigger to pursue acting seriously. I was an introvert and was shy. In order to handle patients, I had to open up and communicate better. This is why I took up theatre. It has definitely made me a better person,” says Nath, who hails from Silchar, Assam, and came to the city to pursue medicine in 2009.
Nath’s first stage appearance took place in November 2016 at Atta Galatta in Koramangala. A periodic drama, set in the 1950s, she essayed a role of an oppressed woman, Champa, in the play called Binder. However, holding onto acting consistently hasn’t been easy, thanks to medical emergencies that keep her on her toes. She was working as a junior resident doctor in the department of neurology at a private hospital in Bengaluru where she dealt with many surgeries from time to time.
“By 7 pm, I would wrap up and head to the studio for rehearsals in Koramangala and practise for my upcoming plays till 1 am. With irregular shifts, it was very difficult to keep up with my passion. I still stick to the same routine of rehearsing for plays every evening,” says Nath, who has worked with many Bengaluru-based theatre groups like Theatre On Your Own, Kahe Vidushak and Our Theatre.
Her most challenging role so far was essaying the role of an eight-year-old distressed girl who lost her father to Covid-19 in Namak, a short play directed by Sreenivas Naidu. “Playing the role of a young girl was quite challenging. I had to sleep on the floor and understand what a girl from a poor background went through during the peak of the pandemic,” says Nath, who selects plays based on current trends in the social spectrum and also stories based on historical dramas.
Besides this, she also conducts theatre workshops for students and corporates to help them understand the fundamentals of working together and bringing out the artistic side to oneself. What is her major takeaway from theatre? “For me, theatre is about working with people. It is teamwork which requires many members to capture an idea and communicate it to the masses. I thought theatre would make me a better actor, but I am now a better person,” says Nath.