Ravindra Kumar Kushwaha( Godaan)
Interview with Ravindra Kumar Kushwaha( Godaan)
Q– You have acted as a lead in two productions of a recently concluded graduate-show. How did you prepare yourself for your roles?
The director has been working on the script for a long time but for an actor there is comparatively very less time between his plays. During this gap an actor keeps on collecting gestures, body language, actions of various people around him, and keeps thinking about various characters in his imaginary world.
But the moment an actor gets a director’s script he starts comparing the character of the director’s script with the characters he has in his memory. That’s what happens with me and then slowly I start matching the mannerism of the character with what the director is looking for. I look for the characteristics described to me by the director whether they are physical or psychophysical. That’s how the actor chooses his characteristics.
During the lighting scene work in school, whenever light is switched on, we say light has spread. Similarly when an actor cannot control his performance, we also say in the same way for him. So an actor should be like an intelligent light. Actor is a link between the audience and the director. Through the actor a director conveys his thought to the audience. To convey that message an actor must be intelligent and physically equipped so that he can deliver whatever he is asked to do. How to feel the character or be the part of that which is being described by the director depends on how much connectivity exists between an actor and the director. I got this insight during our training with mime artist Moin ul Haq sir in SNA workshop that to understand the walking style of anyone one has to know how the various points in body, so that can we can change our walk.
I remember watching an interview of Kamal Hassan on you-tube. He says that he has many kinds of laughter and many kinds of walk. That is what I am always saving and from that I keep taking out one by one and keep adding to my characters.
As Adil Hussain sir also said that if you know the count of your breathing-in and breathing-out, and if you can break it, you can change your voice and pattern of your dialogue. Harish Khanna sir told us that in our body we have three major parts and then sub parts and if one can break them, one can imagine and play as many characters as one wants.
I had a big Influence of Deeapk Tiwari, from Habib Tanvir’s group. During a theater festival, he played the lead in seven plays of Habib Tanvir and in each play, he was different. He was an epitome of acting for me. Hence I always try to be different in each role while satisfying the director as well myself as an actor.
Q– How did you improvise as an actor in ‘Kuchh to karo yaro’ and ‘Inna Ki Awaaz’?
In ‘Inna ki Awaaz’ it was difficult to understand and create the character. So the director told me to do that my own way. First thing I worked upon was -a look which every actor has – an animal inside him. So for this aspect, I found it to be a snake. My first idea was to go with the drawing of snake from half of my head to my hand but later on I thought it might be just overdoing and won’t even be visible to the audience as it was a stage play. Later I added element like sudden jerk of snake in my character.
Also if you remember the lines “ba adab, ba mulahiza, hoshiyaar…” and particularly in this dialogue, I thought that no king would speak something like this to himself. Somehow I thought that this thing could add some kind of psychic part to the character. Only through this dialogue which was not there exactly in the script, I added psycho element to the character.
Q– In “Inaa ki Awaaz” there is a particular scene enacted beautifully without dialogue through visual and symbols with dramatic light and music. The scene is regarding the conflict within Inna himself. How did you evolve that scene?
The actual idea was to put three Inna’s in that scene and all three Inna’s are different from one another. There is one who is good, a pure soul and adorable singer of the masses. The other one is confused inside about what to do- whether to accept the royal post or not. The third one was the changed Inna and somehow similar to the king.
So the soft one and confused Inna are being trapped by the king in his game.
The idea of ‘Mask’ came from Shyam, the director of the play which was choreographed by me. It was easy for me to choreograph as I was also playing the king in the play. Now it was up to me how I would play with two masks- whether I would rotate them keeping one face behind the other or would merge them into one. When they are turning, they are alike and when they separate, you see the king, which was me. So you see two Inna’s merging into one another and the third Inna is coming out of them but not having the qualities of these two Inna’s. Third Inna is corrupted due to poison of power added by the King.
Long back I enacted in a ballet- directed by Prabhat Da- called ‘Abhimanyu’. There in the end of the war, three eagles come and do their movement and sit down and eat the flesh. Since I had the eagle quality and was depicting the image of an eagle in the character I was playing, I embraced all the 3 different Inna’s within my wings and they all are trying to come out of me and I am conducting the third Inna who is my “ Pawn “ and was poisoned with my thoughts. So the master image of an eagle remained in my memory from that ballet and I integrated that into this production.
Q– The character you played in “Kuchh To Karo Yaaro” was totally different from what you played in “Inaa Ki Awaaz”. How did you explore its dimensions?
The director of the play, Amanpreet, took it as a challenge and went for opposite casting as she thought that though I looked elder than both the brothers, still I would get the character of younger one! It was a kind of challenge for me as an actor to look younger than both of them.
I never had played that type of character which I had to portray in this play, but I knew by reading various artists, books and interviews and from theater practice how to put that character in you. I picked up certain mannerism from Rajan, our hip hop teacher, like the cap, the headphone, and his way of walking in swing.
So there was brief that this character is a kind of youngster, fan follower of pop singer, and also is a bit undecided as he never sticks to one side, etc. So there was an image about my character and later on I kept adding small things.
Q– As an actor what was your contribution in ” Basket Of Dolls” which was more of a group production rather than an individual actor oriented production?
I had two responsibilities in this Oasis’s production, one as an actor and the other as a choreographer. Since I had a basic training in Chhau and Kalari, and had been working in a group in various dance dramas for the past 10 years, for me there was no problem regarding working in sync or brining other co-actors in sync with me. I always remembered the mantra of Alok Chatterjee that you should make yourself such a strong actor that other co-actors may take your support to deliver their performance.