Hyderabad: “If I have money, I can get any actor to do my play. But importing actors and big names doesn’t mean that you are important. If you are a true artist, you will start at the grassroot, nurture young and local talent and take them to national and international heights,” says Chandrakant Khanapurkar.
At 61, Chandrakant sir, as he is fondly called in the city’s circuit, is one of the significant forces behind nurturing young talent from the city. Be it mentoring college students for their Hindi plays or the constant flow of work that is being done in Hindi and Marathi theatre.
In recognition of his work, he was recently awarded the Varishta Rangkarmi Samman by the Bela Theatre Karwan in New Delhi. “Bela Theatre Karwan has had annual fests. This year, I was one among the three who were awarded in the honour of theatre and art proponent Mohd Waseem Azad,” he says, grateful of the honours that keep him going.
For the past three decades, Chandrakant has worked extensively in language theatre. He started the Kalashrot group in 1984 to promote local talent, through which he produced and directed 36 plays. The group has bagged 72 awards at the national level for Telugu, Hindi and Marathi drama.
But the early days were no cake walk. “In 70s, I would walk several kilometres for rehearsals. We used to even beg people to give us money after the shows,” he recalls.
Neverthless, his passion towards promoting local talent kept him going, This is evident even off stage . Chandrakant was among those theatre artistes who have stood up to unfair statements made against Hyderabad theatre. In 2007, an open letter was written to M.S. Sathyu from the likes of Vinay Varma and Bhaskar Shewalkar; contending the general notion that the death of Qadir Ali Baig also marked the end of theatre in Hyderabad.
Chandrakant wishes to see similar “collective effort in the city’s community, instead of competition.” “I wish we all support each other instead of worrying about competition, rivalry and politics,” he says...