'Theatre has tremendous transformational power. All I ask is for you to allow me to touch you and your child with that power'


In this Idea Exchange, theatre personality Sanjana Kapoor talks about her initiation into the world of theatre, her company Junoon and how, some day, she hopes to watch more of her father Shashi Kapoor's films "with a more benevolent eye". This session was moderated by Special Correspondent Dipanita Nath

Dipanita Nath: The story of Sanjana Kapoor's involvement with Prithvi Theatre started with her grandparents: Prithviraj Kapoor and Geoffrey and Laura Kendal. She's the daughter of Shashi and Jennifer Kapoor. It must have been tremendous growing up in that kind of a household?

Sanjana Kapoor: My maternal grandfather, Geoffrey Kendal, was my complete and absolute hero. We used to call him Gaga, and my grandmother Gagi. I grew up with their stories. I didn't hear fairytales, I grew up hearing of my grandparents' adventures or Shakespeare stories which all merged into each other. It came as a rude shock when I was a teenager and realised that's what I wanted to be a part of—their lives, and a travelling theatre company. People tend to forget that Prithviraj Kapoor, at the peak of his career, created a theatre company. So in 1944, when India was going through all its turmoil, he believed that he needed to take theatre to the cities and speak directly to people about issues that were powerfully important to him. I didn't know him very well at all; I was five years old when he died. In 2006, we celebrated his birth centenary. We chose plays from across the country that had something to say. That's the world I grew up in—hearing and knowing about these adventures. Three things were banned in my house as a child: Coca-Cola or fizzy drinks, comics except Tintin and Asterix and, Hindi film magazines. We were kept miles away from cinema, or a certain kind of cinema, very consciously.

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