Why Amit Ranjan Sahu's one-man show is a must watch

Sep 14, 2017, 11:37 IST | Snigdha Hasan

Eight monologues, one interlinking story, eight characters and one actor bring to life an array of social issues on stage

Amit Ranjan Sahu in Anubhuti
Amit Ranjan Sahu in Anubhuti

When Amit Ranjan Sahu arrived in Bengaluru in 2007, the move marked the beginning of what many would call a settled life. The engineer from Sambalpur, Odisha, had been placed in a multinational IT firm, where he continued working for the next four years, until he found an opening in another reputed company. With a better salary and perks came a bigger stamp of social approval. He even took the next logical step and did what most engineers do — sign up for an MBA preparation course. But something was amiss.

"There was this inexplicable void in my life, which I tried to fill by joining various creative courses, but I couldn't find my calling," shares the 31-year-old. "Then one day, on my way to the MBA class, I saw a banner for a play that MISFIT students had put up. I got off the bus and skipped the class to watch the play. That was the day I realised I was meant for theatre," says Sahu, referring to theatre personality Ratan Thakore Grant's acting school, My Interest Stays Firmly in Theatre.

Sahu signed for a six-month acting course with the Bengaluru-based school, remained associated with the production of its plays and went on to direct some of them, all while continuing with his corporate job. In March 2016, when he felt he was equipped enough to weave a play around a plot that had been gestating for years, Sahu quit his job. And that's how Anubhuti was born.

The play begins on a dramatic note, when the host of a popular talk show decides to end it abruptly, in a moment of personal crisis. As he battles his dilemma one hour before announcing his decision, he goes back to the advice he received from six different people years ago. Each piece of advice becomes a monologue, touching upon a social issue. "Abandonment in old age, child sexual abuse, single fatherhood, social stigma related to certain professions and physical disability are some of the themes in the play. Performance-wise, it is a challenge playing eight characters, switching from one role to another seamlessly, and being on stage for 60 minutes," admits Sahu.

"The idea emerged from real-life incidents and news stories in the papers that left an impact," says Sahu, adding that the play has been performed in Bengaluru, Kolkata, Delhi and Hyderabad under his theatre group Ruhmanch, and is travelling to Mumbai for the first time.

How has the shift in career been treating him? "Yes, it's true that theatre does not pay well," he admits. "But I take up freelance projects that allow me time for theatre. And it has been a gratifying experience."

ON: September 15, 8 pm
AT: Studio Tamasha, Aram Nagar, Versova. ON September 16, 7.30 pm
AT: Si Bambai, Kala Ghoda, Fort.
LOG ON TO: bookmyshow.com
COST: Rs 200

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