I'm thoroughly enjoying the theatre experience: Kavita Kaushik

Popular Indian actress, Kavita Kaushik, who has been a part of TV shows and many Punjabi films, is all set for her theatrical debut. In an exclusive conversation, she shares thoughts on her character in Atul Satya Koushik's play, Pajama Party

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Safety of women in the country has always been a question. With an improving and changing lifestyle, girls and women don't feel safe to travel, even today. Due to the situations they face, they are not able to trust anybody they know, let alone strangers. Many campaigns and concepts have addressed the same, where the message has been rightly put across, that it is not the girls or women who need to learn to dress or live, but it is the men and the boys who need to know how to behave. It is important for parents and families of such boys to teach them manners, thereby helping everyone live the way they want to - freely!

Addressing the same issue is the new play Pajama Party, starring Kavita Kaushik in the lead role. In an exclusive interview with MumbaiLive, she talks about her role in the play, her journey so far, the social issue we need to address and a lot more. Talking about Pajama Party, she said, "It is a story about four girls from different walks of life, who are best friends, and what happens to them while they are trying to have a  pajama party at home. Something really tragic happens that night, and they have to deal, react to it. The subject is pertaining to today's time because it is hard-hitting, speaks about urban crimes. The kind of crime they face and deal with it, thereby addressing the society's reaction is something we are trying to show in this play. It is thrilling, real and something that happens/can happen, any time, any person, anywhere. It is an eye-opener for everyone, thereby understand that we cannot look away from such situations. We need to talk about it and put an end to it."

Kavita is known to play different characters on-screen. She has earned fame and accolades for playing a police officer in a TV show. On being asked the character in the play, she said, "I have not played a character like this ever. I play Ayesha, an upcoming actress who has moved to Mumbai from Dehradun. She is funny, creative, quirky and so I would say this is about a real girl, who is just like Ayesha and there are many like her in real life. It is a lot like me, and it is fun to play because it has a lot of dimensions. I have been craving for the role like this because it is linear. The roles I play in Punjabi films, usually don't have the aspects I have here. My character, Ayesha, defines today's woman, who is strong, yet vulnerable, just like other people we come across."

Her character of a police officer 'Chandramukhi Chautala' in FIR on the TV show, does help people and guide them, thereby teaching the society about the wrong and the right. She has been appreciated for the same. While the play also focuses on differentiating and addressing issues, thereby pass a message, I was intrigued ta know if it is something she consciously chooses in her roles - a constant effort to pass good messages thereby voice out her opinion to the society. "Maybe, that's what I'm meant to do. I have come across a lot of struggle in my life and I work the best under stress. My best potential comes out in such situations. In real life, many people send me messages on Instagram on an every day basis, share their issues hoping for a suggestion or guidance from me. At times I think, I shouldn't be available so much, but I cannot stop myself, because they come to me with some hope. There is a need for me to give them strength. It is karmic, and I'm very fortunate this happens to me. On the contrary, I also think why people assume that this is who I'm - someone without problems. Having said this I believe that I'm blessed to have such roles, which push to perform passionately," she said.

The conversation then seamlessly lead to her love for art and performances. She continued saying, "I thoroughly enjoy this work, especially this theatre experience - it is my first time. While I was doing TV, I did not have time, because the medium keeps the actors busy throughout.  But this gives me time to rehearse, dedicate time for travel and spend time at a personal level with my family. However, I'm clear that I will only do one thing at a time because I want to dedicate my time to Punjabi films also. I have learned that I want to balance my life now. I have dedicated 17 years to films, and I do not regret it a bit. But having said this, I would multitask as well, but the idea to give time to everything in life now."

The role she plays in Pajama Party is something which is common in a city like Mumbai, where many people - men and women - come to the city, with an aim to make it big in the entertainment world. Kavita, who moved here almost two decades years back, knows this world in-and-out. While talking about if the situation was the same back then, thereby comparing it today, she said "Many people think that this is a small industry, but it isn't. Like every other place, there are good and bad people. When I came to Mumbai, I already had a role in hand, from Balaji Telefilms. So when I moved to the city, I got very good advice from a friend who was in Mumbai back then. She said, in a place like Mumbai, if you are a good person with good intentions and passion, you'll get what you want, the right way. You need to work hard and not get distracted to get what you want. I was fortunate to come here with something in hand, and I started building my life in this mayanagri. This place gave me a sense of belonging, and I have a beautiful life here."

This is Kavita's first play, but she has watched this space, across all mediums, grow with time. However, theatre is something which hasn't grown to its best potential, and that's due to the lack of audience. While trying to understand what she thinks of this thought, and her approach towards promoting the same, she said, "Art should be promoted always, and it is high time we do that. We have everything in our hands today, and it is both a curse and boon because we are alienating ourselves from everything in the world. By depending on the phone for entertainment and content, we are forgetting theatre and performance on stage. This is killing the art and culture of our country, which is rich and beautiful. It is everyone's responsibility to promote art, especially parents. But if you see today, kids who are really young, watch reality shows, content which is meant for adults, etc. I don't say it is wrong, but I believe it is not appropriate for that age, and so it should be shown to them when it is right. Parents need to learn to raise their children. We are teaching people religion and technology, but we are not teaching them art, culture, and craft. While technology is good, we need to make sure they don't get used to it so much at such a young age. They need to teach their children the right thing, and ensure they are not addicted to social media."

While bringing an end to this interesting chat, Kavita shared a message about the play and said, "In a nutshell, the play shares a simple message about equality. As I said, parents need to raise their boys well and equal to how they raise girls. In fact, instead of teaching their boys about how they need to behave with other people living respectfully in the society."

Pajama Party is written and directed by Atul Satya Koushik, and stars Kamya Punjabi, Shakti Singh and Deepali Garg in the lead roles. Besides them, the play also casts Sunil Kumar Palwal and Arjun Singh as pivotal characters.

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