BWW Interview: PUNEET ISSAR ON PLAYING Duryodhan - the Biggest Mythological Character On Indian Stage
There are only a handful of Indian actors who have to their credit the honor of immortalizing a role they enacted. And Puneet Issar is one of them. Issar who is better know as Duryodhana is back on stage doing the best -- playing the part of the character from Mahabharat that has remained unrivaled in story, script and energy over the years.
Now back in the theatre circuit, Issar is taking the magnum opus play Mahabharat across the country . Produced b y Felicity Theatre the play is getting houseful shows and is also attracting a younger generation to India's greatest epic.
In between in busy schedule, Issar took some time out to speak with BWW on his character, Mahabharat and what keeps the world audiences riveted to this story
1. So let's take you back to the time when you were offered the role of Duryodhan for TV. What went through your mind. Did you ever think that the role would follow you through the rest of your life. Did you fear getting typecast?
I had read the Mahabharat thoroughly even before meeting BR Chopra Sir. I knew the most important character was Duryodhan. Without him the Mahabharat would not have happened. I straight away went and asked for that character itself. They offered me Bheem which I refused. Eventually after auditioning for Duryodhan's character I was selected for the role. I feel I am the reincarnation of Duryodhan. There are lots of similarities between me and him. I knew the Duryodhana's tag would be with me for the rest of my life... that would be my identification / meri pehchaan... but isn't it true , all great Actors and stars are know by the characters they have portrayed?
1. Amrish puri Sir is known as MOGAMBO
2. Amjad khan is GABBAR SINGH
2. Shahrukh is RAHUL
3. Salman is PREM
ALL ACTORS thrive to know by some character they do
In that case i have been fortunate enough that the very first role made me an iconic name.
2. How would you compare the screen portrayal of an epic like Mahabharata to stage show
The TV Serial in 1988 [ 92 episodes of 1 hour each ] was very elaborate and at times too long which was the requirement then. However, to have the audiences attention on watching it on stage and keeping them engaged for 3 Hours , and give them the complete saar the Mahabharat, was a big challenge. I am glad to say we have successfully achieved it!
3. Why do you think that the epic appeals to people even till today
The best thing about this Great Epic is --It is still relevant today even after 5000 years ...
And it will be even relevant for centuries to come . Its Timeless. All the Emotions are Universal. People identify with each and every character. No character is completely White or Black. All characters are Grey. Which happens in daily life. Every House has a Duryodhan, Dhritarashtra, Shakuni, Arjun, Karan, Gandhari, Bhishma . That's the Beauty of Mahabharat
4. Do you feel that theatre should have picked up themes from mythology much before.
Yes! Ours is a very very Rich Heritage n Culture. Scriptures, Vedas, Upanishadas, Puranas, are filled with very interesting Stories and teachings which teach us how be a better Human Being. And that's the need of the hour. We can make thousands of films, serials, plays, books, novels, poetries' out of this rich material. Theatre has done themes with mythology in the past but we are now re-creating big mythological stories by bringing the finest talent, larger than life sets, exquisite costume and the latest technology to live theatre. All this enhances the viewing experience for spectacular stage show such as Mahabharat.
5. How do you like the experienced if being on a live stage.
It's an Adrenaline high. Being in front of a live audience is like taking an steroid shot. The applause, the claps in each and every dialogue , people being mesmerised by the performance, and the standing ovation is unparellal. This kind if a feeling you can not get in any other medium!
6. Any future stage shows in the offering?
Yes I am writing another Epic JAI SHREE RAM [ Ramayan ] which will be produced by Felicity Theatre. You will hear more about it when we are ready the production.