Pankaj Kapur`s play Dopehri was published as a novel after he had performed it on stage for several years
Accompanied by little else than background music and a solitary table on stage, his soulful readings of the adventures of Amma Bi - the protagonist of Dopehri - have left theatre enthusiasts mesmerised. Actor-director Pankaj Kapur turned novelist with the play getting a literary adaptation in 2019. The veteran inked the deal for English and Hindi adaptations with publishing house Harper Collins.
"Dopehri is not drawn from my experiences or based on anyone," says Kapur, who discovered his writing talent in the late '80s. "I have penned poems and written for television as well."
Those glad about Kapur's literary debut have his actor-wife Supriya Pathak to thank. "Supriya was after my life to get the novella published. In fact, she did the groundwork on how one goes about publishing a book, so I have to give her credit for getting the process on track."
Having written the story of Amma Bi - a woman past her prime who lives alone in an old haveli in Lucknow - 20 years ago, the celebrated artiste has been performing it on stage for several years. "Though her journey of self-discovery may sound serious, it is laced with humour and wit. It also traces her relationship with people who enter her life. The title itself conveys the story. In the late afternoon, the sun may be setting, but there is enough light, indicating that there is still time for sunset. To me, that is a reflection of the woman's life."
He has previously displayed his directorial skills with the show, Mohandas BA LLB, and the feature film Mausam (2011). Kapur hopes to bring Dopehri alive on the big screen as well "as it has been penned like a feature film."
The talented actor started his journey in acting due to his interest in stage plays and theatre, which with experience and interest took the form of mesmerising celluloid performances in films like, Maqbool, Gandhi, Musafir, Roja, Dus among others.
After graduating from National School of Drama, he did theatre for the next four years, until he was offered a role in Gandhi by Richard Attenborough. Over the years, as a director, he has done over 74 plays and serials, including Mohandas B.A.L.L.B., Wah Bhai Wah, Sahabji Biwiji Ghulamji and Drishtanth, Kanak Di Balli, Albert's Bridge and Panchvan Savaar.