BWW Interview: AKARSH KHURANA Of Akvarious Productions On stage adaptation of Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner

BWW Interview: AKARSH KHURANA Of  Akvarious Productions  On stage adaptation of Khaled Hosseini's The Kite RunnerActor, screenwriter and theatre artist Akarsh Khurana has been doing exceptional work in the field of theatre. A seasoned asctor himself, Khurana understands the nuances of portraying finer emotions for the audience. He made his acting debut with Shyam Benegal's Kalyug and has been a part of some of the most memorable films in the history of Indian cinema. Some of them including Saraansh, Barfi, Ardh Satya etc.

Infusing a new life in Indian theatre, Khurana talks to BWW about his upcoming ambitious new plays.

You have handled a very sensitive subject of ADD in your upcoming play. Was it a tough story to portray
The play has a pretty simple story per se. What was important was that we maintain accuracy and authenticity. While the play deals with its subject matter in a light manner, one cannot take the subject itself lightly. So being responsible was the key challenge. And given how professionals from the field of mental health and people with similar conditions have responded to the play, I think we've managed.
Tell us about the future productions of Akvarious.
Right now we are in the middle of rehearsals for our 65th production, which we are presenting along with D for Drama. The play is the stage adaptation of Khaled Hosseini's bestselling novel The Kite Runner, and we will be opening the same for the fifth season of Aadyam at the end of August.
Is there any particular kind of theatre that you want to showcase in India and why
I believe that all theatre people should be inclusive. So I want all kinds of theatre to happen in India, and I hope all productions manage to find enough of an audience to sustain themselves. Personally at Akvarious we've always wanted to tell good stories. And that's what we intend to continue doing.
What has been your favorite production so far and why
It would be very hard to select one production out of 64 that we have done in the last 19 years. In fact I've directed more than 20 of those productions myself, and choosing one from that would be impossible too. I thoroughly enjoyed working on our trilogy of plays for children based on the stories of Ruskin Bond. Our longest running play, The Interview, was a lovely piece by Siddharth Kumar. As was Baghdad Wedding by Hassan Abdulrazzak. Both these plays went on to win the award for Best Play at META. But again, this is a difficult question to ask. I love quite a few of our productions. In terms of popularity, All About Women, Dekh Behen, Internal Affairs, The Interview, Rafta Rafta, and Some Times have been among our most successful.
Did it move you to direct the story of Homi? Were there any real life instances that shaped the need to talk about disabilities in India
I think its dangerous to get too moved by your own work. The goal is to move the audience. The kind of responses the play has got have been rather moving, to be honest. People with ADD or kids with ADD have been so grateful and approving. That's a great feeling. With regards to real life instances, there isn't one particular one. But today, mental health is a big topic of discussion, and conditions like ADHD are more prevalent than we can imagine. With the dependence on gadgets these days, and the subsequent information overload, I believe there is a widespread drop in attention spans and powers of concentration. I personally know theatre actors who are fabulous performers but have a nightmarish time at early readings of plays because they are dyslexic and find it hard to read as quickly as the others. So we're surrounded by stories of struggle that are all moving. This is a time for cognizance and sensitivity.

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