There is no money in theatre in India: Harssh A Singh
Harssh A Singh was recently seen in Taapsee Pannu and Pavail Gulati-starrer “Thappad”. The actor was associated with theatres for a very long time before venturing into Bollywood. He feels that the Indian theatre is going through a tough phase because there is no money in it.
He says after rehearsing for one play for a period of three months, they get just Rs.2000 per show, and that is not sufficient for survival in big cities like Mumbai or Delhi.
“If you go towards UK, many Oscar-winning actors have started their career from theatre. Their government supports theatre people by giving them grants so that artists can lead a good life and raise their family, but that’s not possible in india. People who do theatre in India, they are considered mad, because there is no money. We rehearse for three months for one play and at end of it we just get Rs. 2000 per show. Can you imagine living with Rs. 2000? How will theatre actors survive with it and that is why theatre, unfortunately, is dying in India,” Harssh said.
“Big names like Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Irrfan Khan have done theatre, but when they came to Mumbai they couldn’t do theatre, because it was hard to survive with that kind of money. So they opted for Bollywood,” he added.
He reveals that though there is no money in theatre, youngsters still consider it as a training ground. However, he admits that once they have done a play or two, they leave for Bollywood.
“If you ask any newcomer, the one who comes from delhi or out of town, they will say I want to do theatre, not because they love watching it, there idea is that theatre is a great training ground so I will get in theatres will do one or two plays, will learn acting and will get into TV or films to make money. It’s very sad but true. Artists from all over world believe because there is no money in theatre and if they want to be here, it won’t be for long. If you are living in mumbai your minimum expenditure is very expensive so for how many years are you going to survive just by doing theatre,” Harssh said.
The “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” star also feels that theatre will always go through a rough phase, but it will die and revive again because of the people who are just so passionate about it.
“Theatre will die, it will keep going through hardships and terrible things but there will always be people who want to be in theatre, because if someone enjoys doing theatre, they will not enjoy anything else. Even if they do films, TV, webseries, they will always come back to the stage, for example, look at artists like Naseeruddin Shah and Rajat Kapoor,” Harssh said.
Harssh recently became part of a video by the theatre community for the others who are struggling during these tough times.
Talking about the video, he said, “The song was conceptualised by Asif Ali Baig, an incredible theatre artist. He wanted to write a song for people who love theatre and like I said people who love theatre they don’t do it for money, they do it because they love the art form. This came from the fear that once the lockdown ends will people come to theatre, will they buy tickets, will it be possible. The video was conceptualised from that fear that theatre will never die, they will all be back some how or the other. I decided to become part of it because through this we want to create awareness and raise money for the artists whose income has been stopped.”