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    Theatre in India needs a Lalit Modi

    Cyrus Broacha, from the time he became a comic sensation with ‘MTV Bakra’, has always liked to have his fingers in numerous pies.From television to skits to cricket commentary to live shows to films to theatre, Cyrus has effortlessly flitted with various mediums. “It’s not very unique anymore. So many people I know are doing all these things at one time,” he says.Yet, English theatre, from where he started his career, remains his favourite. Cyrus considers it the most supreme among all the mediums. “If you consider films, the actor’s contribution is not that much. On the other hand television is all about deadlines. Quality is the least important aspect there,” he says.“But with a play, the freedom is immense, it is creative and very appealing to the soul of an artist. It is such a great medium, which is why it is surviving in this age of technology. It’s magic cannot be explained in tangible terms,” he adds.Which brings us to his latest play, ‘One Out Of Six’, that will be staged in Kochi at JT Pac on December 4. The play is about a homosexual couple staying in New York. It also has a senior couple, wherein the father cannot believe his son can be gay. Meanwhile, he has his own problems to deal with, since his wife has just eloped with his brother. “All this gives rise to many humourous situations,” says Cyrus.He is also quick to clarify that though the play has a strong theme of homosexuality, it is not only about that. “The play is basically about relationships and the connect breaking down between the present and earlier generation.”Cyrus plays a gay character, and says it is a tough part to perform, given the specific physicality he has to assume. “I don’t have an issue with the feminine side. But physically, transforming into another character that I am simply not, is what is difficult. If you meet me or see me you’ll find I am as non-gay as they get. I’m not even metrosexual. I don’t shave, I am possibly the worst dressed person around. And in theatre, even when you are in the periphery, you have to be in character. My legs have to be together always. All that I find a little difficult, but it’s also fun to be a different character altogether,” he says.The play, that has had a run in Mumbai earlier this year, has been adapted from a 70s play by an American playwright, but Cyrus believes the timing is just right for it in India. Of course, the play has been suitably indianised.English theatre in India has always been looked upon as an elitist, Anglophile affair, with South Bombay and Delhi situations and sensibilities. This has often led to the actors speaking in a high-flown, stilted way. However, with English becoming the second language among a great majority in India, and most now having a working knowledge of it, shouldn’t these changes get reflected in English theatre in the country as well, you ask. Cyrus agrees, “Absolutely, you need to give the audience an experience they can relate with. We live in a mixed culture, with people talking English in their own unique ways, that is tied with their personalities, and this has to reflect in the writing. Homogeneity would make it boring. So whether one speaks broken English or with a Malayali accent, all that must be a part of the experience. Otherwise people will reject it,” he says, adding, “I’m all for inclusiveness rather than exclusiveness.”Other than these creative challenges, theatre in India also constantly battles with lack of funds. Cyrus says most actors do it for the love of it, rather than the money. “Theatre in India would need a Lalit Modi to make it viable and market the damn product well,” he says.On his film career, Cyrus jokes, “One should get offers for that.” Television again, he isn’t too gung ho about at the moment. “It’s all about reality television, but it’s not going anywhere, and nether is it everyone’s cup of tea. Television has always been the lowest among the arts. I’m doing The Week That Wasn’t for CNN-IBN, but that is more about writing,” he says. For now, variety is the spice in Cyrus life and that’s how he says he likes it.