It was during a play in their vicinity in old Hyderabad, surrounding the global icon of the Qutb Shahi dynasty — Charminar, that the two brothers recognised their love for theatre.
There has been no stopping ever since. Nikhilesh Kamlekar, 19, an undergraduate from Badruka Degree College and his school kid brother, Shrikanth Kamlekar had learnt their first lesson in dramatics at an early age.
“When I was 11, I joined Koshish, the first Urdu theatre group in old Hyderabad that focussed on social issues with Shrikanth, who was only 7. Ever since, there is not even a single play where we haven’t performed together,” says Nikhilesh.
The duo started off by performing in street plays which were essentially Hyderabadi but issue-based. “We have performed in over 100 plays in a span of eight years. Most of them were either in Dakhini Urdu or Hindi. The play has been on topics like education, water, traffic and national integration.
We also performed at plays held at a national level in Odisha and West Bengal.” Srikanth, the son of a mechanic says that they have received full support from their family to chase their passion for theatre. When asked to deliver his favourite dialogue from his plays, the 15-year-old voices one from a play on environment concerns.
“Manav tum to jante ho ki dusro ko hani pohchakar apna pet bharna sahi nahi/Tum apne swarth ke liye is ped ko mar rahe ho/Kyon kar rahe ho aisa? (Human, you know that cutting trees to satisfy your hunger is wrong/You are harming this tree for your vested interests/Why do you do this?)
His brother recited one in revolutionary spirits, “Tum daro mat bhai/Yeh log hame bhukha rakh kar sochte hain ki hum mar jaenge/Lekin yeh logon ko kya maloom ki bhukhe peton mein vidhroh palta hai..Vidhroh. (Don’t be scared my brother/By keeping us hungry, they think we will die/ But they don’t know that in the empty stomach sustains resistance and rebellion).”