For the past many years, we mostly saw Annup Soni as the face of Sony TV’s show Crime Patrol. But the actor has taken a break from TV and concentrating from where he started and his first love — theatre. After a gap of eight years, Annup will be part of a new play which will premiere end of August. The untitled play is being directed by Delhi-based playwright, director, producer Atul Satya Koushik.
The actor says that his character is really interesting. “I am doing something that I haven’t done before on stage. Besides, it has a thriller plot line, is intense and drawn from real people,” he says, adding, “We hardly see thrillers on stage because if you notice we mostly have family dramas or comedy. I found the script interesting because there were only two characters. It’s an edge-of-the-seat kind of thriller.”
The reason he personally still enjoys performing on stage is because it’s live and the audience is in front of you. “So there are no retakes. Even if you forget your lines or you are not been able to perform well, nothing of this matters. You can only give your best shot in the next show,” he says.
The actor, who has already started rehearsing for the play, says that the excitement of being back on stage is still same. “That’s because I started my career with stage and films back in the ’90s. In 1999, I did my debut film Godmother with Shabana Azmi. When you are not from the city, there are certain things you have to manage on your own like pay house rent and take care of other expenditures too. Films take time to happen and TV was very welcoming and I needed the money, so I moved to TV. But my first love will always be theatre and films,” says the actor, who has worked with filmmakers like N Chandra, Prakash Jha and Madhur Bhandarkar.
The actor says that once he shifted to television, he was so caught up with both his shows (Balika Vadhu and Crime Patrol) that he did not get a chance to work on any other medium. “Both the shows turned out to be so popular that I did not get a chance to look at anything else. Now that I have taken a break from TV, I want to concentrate on theatre and films,” adds the actor who is also shooting for Sanjay Dutt’s upcoming project Prasthanam.
Annup says that theatre as a medium has changed over the years. “The audience is quite excited about live theatre, especially in places like Maharashtra, Delhi, Gujarat. And in smaller cities like Bhopal, Lucknow, a lot of theatre is happening. As far as big cities are concerned, the cost of producing plays is more but the audience is excited to watch live theatre which is worth their time and money. Sometimes, it’s good content or good set and sometimes both. Theatre still has a lot of value,” says the actor.
Annup, who has passed out from National School of Drama (NSD) and has performed on stage with some noted and brilliant co-actors, says though he did not get a chance to work in new plays he has watched several of them over the years. “My mother-in-law Nadira Babbar has her own group called Ekjute Theatre Group, so it’s an advantage for me. They keep organising a lot of plays and many of them are directed by her, so I get to watch them. Even the young people who join the group direct several plays. I have never been away from the medium,” he says.
Annup says that theatre has contributed a lot to the kind of actor he is today. “When I was studying in Jaipur, I started with amateur theatre but when I moved to NSD, whatever growth happened was because of NSD. My base is theatre,” he says, adding, “As you move from one medium to another, you have to adjust accordingly.”
The actor prides himself for not being loud on TV even though that’s what the medium demands. “I never changed my acting according to the demands of TV. I played my roles, the way they demanded. Even while hosting Crime Patrol, I was not over-the-top. I have tried to perform it as realistically as possible,” he concludes.