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‘Theatre, to me, is real adventure…’

A theatre artiste, Keerthan Somanna, is currently honing his craft through a diploma in theatre at Rangayana, Mysuru. A talented director, he has helmed two short films and is presently immersed in the production of the upcoming Kodava film Kokkale Kundh. Anushka Sarkhel caught up with him to find out what he has on the anvil

You’ve spent six years in theatre. How has it shaped your perspective as an artiste?

It has been an incredible journey. Initially, I was stuck to my ‘comfort zone’ surrounded by like-minded friends, avoiding any desire to step out. Despite my fondness for adventure and trying new things, I hesitated. Then, impulsively, I joined a theatre group called Journey Theatre Group in Mangaluru, thinking it would be a breeze. Soon, it challenged me to leave my comfort zone, making me realise the discipline required to be an actor.

Despite the initial discomfort and thoughts of quitting, my inner voice urged me to persist and believe in my potential. Gradually, I connected with the stage, learning valuable lessons that I couldn’t have gained elsewhere. Theatre, to me is real adventure, and being a theatre artiste has transformed how I perceive art in everything.

Throw some light on your past and your upcoming projects?

My involvement in theatre has been deep. I’ve participated in several short films, starting with my role in Drishtikona. Collaborating with a group of close friends, we operate a YouTube channel called Amrithyu Screens, showcasing our creative endeavours. Despite facing challenges of limited technical resources, it has been a meaningful journey, reflecting a noteworthy effort. Currently, our team is actively engaged in the production of a Kodava short film titled Kokkale Kundh.

What inspired you to make Kokkale Kundh?

Kokkale Kundh is an experimental short film, rooted in real events from the 1980s. Its primary objective is to depict the local culture and lifestyle of Kodagu’s villages. Falling under the genre of comedy-drama suspense, what sets this movie apart is the familial touch, as all the actors and editors involved are my cousins and family members.

What’s the difference between acting in theatre and films?

Theatre and filmmaking differ significantly. Theatre is dynamic and each performance unique, while films capture a final, unchangeable product through multiple takes. In theatre, performances evolve with each show, getting better or slightly less impressive. Acting in theatre involves exaggerated expressions, contrasting with the naturalistic approach favoured in films. Each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Who are your favourite artistes?

I have a deep admiration for Sir Charles Chaplin’s performances, finding inspiration in his life challenges. I’m a devoted fan of Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. In Bollywood, Hrithik Roshan, particularly in Guzaarish, holds a special place in my heart. In Sandalwood, Puneet Rajkumar’s fitness, dancing prowess and humility have greatly inspired me.

Your plans?

I see theatre as a valuable tool to foster resourcefulness and overall personality development. I have a vision to assemble a team of theatre artistes in Kodagu. As I continue gaining experience in theatre, my aspiration is to transition into acting in movies. To initiate this journey, our team has outlined plans to produce short films and series for platforms such as YouTube and other OTT. We have scripts ready to be developed, accompanied by thoughtful budget planning, marking a promising beginning for our future endeavours.

Cut-off box – Keerthan to the rescue Since my childhood snakes have captivated me with their uniqueness and beauty. Sadly they are often misunderstood making them vulnerable to harm. Much like other creatures they play a vital role in maintaining balance in the ecosystem emphasising the crucial need for snake conservation in the face of deforestation. I am actively involved in rescuing snakes. Snake rescues demand keen awareness and confidence a sentiment that resonates with stage performance where a single step can result in failure. You have just one opportunity to get it right.

(Published 16 December 2023, 02:48 IST)

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