Suchitra Krishnamoorthi’s play Drama Queen, which will soon convert into a feature film, delves into existential crisis of a single mother. The multi-faceted actor talks to Karan Bhardwaj on rediscovering her life, career and taking action against abusive online trolls
You are returning to theatre with Drama Queen, an adaptation of your memoir. Are you excited to perform in Delhi?
I am excited because Delhi has an evolved theatre scenario. Thanks to National School of Drama, there are many talented artists there. I have been wanting to do theatre for a long time, and have been exploring possibilities. While I was looking for material, my producer suggested me to present my own novel Drama Queen on the stage. We did one show in Mumbai and drew great response. So now I am bringing it to Delhi.
Was it emotionally draining to write a play on your own life?
Not really. This all began with my book. I just narrated my state of mind. I was surprised that I finished writing Drama Queen in 5-6 weeks. By the time I started working on the play, it had become a fictional story. People became characters for me. Today, Suchitra’s like a fictional character. It’s a work of art.
The play makes a bold statement about a single mother who wants to live on her own terms. Is that a challenge in the society?
I think we are a sexually repressed society. Everything on sex is tabooed. My book was my attempt to break out of my own conditioning. I come from a typical middle class family where we grew up with restrictive notion on sex and relationships. But there’s no preaching in the play. We have funny dialogues where you get all these messages. For instance, in one of the sequences, I am having an argument with my mother, who thinks that I concentrate only on my daughter, and give up the idea of marrying again. In a fit of anger, I tell her that I want to marry again for sex and have no shame in that.
How did you rediscover yourself post divorce with your ex-husband Shekhar Kapur?
It’s an individual and personal process. You have to keep your mind and open to new opportunities. Life should not be taken too seriously… Just keep trying. There’s no shame or pride. Life is fluid.
Any regret in life?
I got married at an early age. I was too young. But it happened. It was my destiny. That’s the only regret I have!
How is theatre different from cinema?
Theatre is niche. It is a medium where you can express freely. It’s personal and individualistic in nature. In cinema, there are external factors that determine your presence like finances, production values etc, but you have greater control on your performance on the stage. However, theatre needs to get a lot more audience.
Would you like to see Drama Queen on the celluloid?
I have been asked to write a movie script based on Drama Queen, and I am already doing it. Whether or not I would be seen in the movie depends on commercial viability. But I would be happy to just see my story on screen with or without myself.
Why don’t we see you on screen?
I have not been offered good roles. Sometime ago, I got a good opportunity but I couldn’t take it up as I was occupied with my book and candle-making venture. Now I am open to work in films but there has to be something challenging. It cannot be for the sake of validating my presence in public eye. It has to excite me as an artist.
How often do you paint? What are your artistic inspirations?
My work is mostly abstract. It’s a riot of colours. I am not a disciplined painter. Sometimes, I paint for weeks and then suddenly I give up for months. For me, it’s like a personal expression.
Does trolling deter you to express your opinion?
Not at all! Trolls have their right to express opinion. It is problematic when trolling turns vulgar and violent. When I tweeted on azaan, I got a lot of threats, and slut shaming was done. I had to lodge formal police complaint. But I think selective outrage is in fashion these days, which must go!
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