The time I joined Nautanki…

For some time in the recent past I had been thinking about life, career, achievements, goals identity, sexuality and happiness.  I kept telling myself that I wanted to do those things I always wanted to but like most people do, I kept procrastinating. I was all talk. Early this year, I was going through a hard time and was battling depression. On a friend’s page on Facebook I saw an advert that said ‘Actors and Extras needed’. That was it. I decided I would do it this time. I had very poor self-esteem and was full of self-doubt but Nautanki Theatre Company saw beyond that.

I spoke to Neel Banerjee and soon realised that his thought processes and views were something I looked for in people I wanted to work with. His love for theatre was truly admirable.

I was nervous but excited at the same time.

We soon started with rehearsals where I met so many wonderful people. People who brought with them such joy and life filled with laughter. I soon realised that it wasn’t just acting and a passion for theatre that defined Nautanki. It was way more than that. There was a strong sense of belonging where I truly felt, after a long time, that I belonged to something. I could be myself and not be judged. Everyone was equal and treated the same way. It was also very relevant that we were doing ‘The Jungle Book’.

Being of a migrant background and of a diaspora where I was often feeling different; ‘The Jungle Book’ became a play that I instantly got connected. We started to use dialogues from the play like a mantra playfully. It soon started to have such a deeper meaning though. “The strength of the pack is the wolf and the strength of the wolf is the pack.”

We were introduced to our Director; Joyraj Bhattacharjee who is such a humble and down to earth person. He allowed us to feel our own connection to the characters we played and feel comfortable in our own skin.

What a journey it’s been. I didn’t think I would make the cut but I’m so glad I joined Nautanki. Everyone is family. I have made such good friends at Nautanki and I’m sure I will continue to meet great people.

To Nautanki and the entire team, Vinaka Vaka Levu and Bahut Dhanbaad (Thank you very much in Fijian and Fiji Hindi) .

Salvin Kumar

Salvin Kumar writes about his experience after working in The Jungle Book production.

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