On Thursday, Paresh Rawal was appointed Chairman of the National School of Drama (NSD). The two-time National Award-winner and Padma Shri awardee is thrilled with the new responsibility, given that he has been doing professional theatre since ’72. “I will enjoy this a lot,” he told Mirror. Excerpts from an interview:
♦ Given your experience on stage, any plans for the NSD?
I want to increase theatre spaces for maximum reach. Even Mumbai needs five-six more Prithvi Theatres, not just in terms of space, but also quality, and to see more diverse content. So, I plan to open more theatres, maintain them well, encourage and nurture talent.
♦ Anything that needs to be changed or corrected?
Every time someone new is appointed, changes are anticipated. But I don’t want to change anything just for the sake of it. If something is going good, why change it?
♦ NSD has given us actors like Pankaj Kapur, Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri and Irrfan Khan. Will you take forward the NSD legacy?
It’s up to the actors to decide if they want to groom themselves better and enhance their craft, the way Pankajji, Omji, Naseer saab and Irrfan did. There are many actors who want to do more theatre than films. I’ve worked in films for so many years, but I’ve also got so much from theatre. It’s not as if actors use theatre as a stepping stone to a film career.
♦ Did you ever want to join NSD?
I’m a Mumbaikar and from the time I started, Marathi and Gujarati theatre has been there. After Prithvi, Hindi and English theatre consolidated too. There’s also Bengali theatre in the city. Back then, I didn’t think that I needed to join NSD, but definitely going there now will be an advantage. Any kind of education and training definitely helps.
♦ Do you wish this responsibility had come earlier?
I believe everything comes at the right time. There’s no such thing as early or late. It’s a golden opportunity.