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Verve Man
July 23, 2015

Drama Kings: Karan Pandit

Text by Zaral Shah. Photographs By Tejal Pandey. Conceptualised by Ashima Gupta. Styling by Chandni Bahri

Karan Pandit talks about his many roles and his journey as an actor

When most people in their early 20s are still mapping out their lives, Kolkata-born actor, Karan Pandit, won a Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Award (META) in the Best Actor category for his role in The Interview. About that experience he says, “It was very encouraging, we also won the Best Play award, so it really helped the play and we landed up doing many shows.” He cites Mumbai as his hometown for he feels that he spent his formative years in the financial capital.

Twenty-four-year-old Pandit has completed a one-year course in performance studies at the Drama Centre London (Central Saint Martins) and has participated in plays like All About My Mother, Lovepuke and Second Hand Emotions among other stage productions and TV advertisements. When asked about his favourites and branching out onto the silver screen, the film buff shares, “I have worked in that medium and definitely see myself doing more of it. I have many favourites because my entire world is film and theatre, and I can’t limit myself to a few choices.”

Every play and short film being a new challenge in itself, he rationalises that it’s taxing enough just improving on your work as an actor. A front-runner on his list of favourite co-stars is Kashin Shetty — whom he shared the stage with in The Interview. Having performed together in 93 shows, they gel well and he says it’s enjoyable as Shetty is always open to trying new things and keeping it spontaneous.

An alumnus of St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai, Pandit laid the foundation for his tryst with theatre when he auditioned and eventually acted in a play while in junior college — that audition, the artiste says, is when he felt that acting was something worth pursuing. Talking about his first professional experience on stage, he describes it as scary — “I was nervous and had to warm up a crowd with some stand-up comedy. Not being used to the lights, I was blind through most of it. I remember a few people laughing and giggling at the opening jokes, which is when I felt much more at ease.”

The light-hearted actor claims that every character he has played bears some similarity to his real-life persona. And the singleton pictures his ideal girl as a straight-laced, yet engaging conversationalist — and adds to his wish list of her attributes “sexy legs”. Pandit claims that he has no specific dream role but hopes to be part of important indigenous stories that represent the people he has seen in his growing-up years.

If not an actor, he reveals an inclination towards direction and, when not rehearsing or performing, he spends the day “vegetating with my friends or with my laptop”. The versatile trouper says theatre myths suggest that actors have serious personalities, and that the job pays well. Fond of travelling, he shares how Santorini in Greece, a place he toured with his parents last year, was “one of the most peaceful and beautiful places that I have ever visited”.

Amidst all the applause and praise he has received, one compliment that he values was being told to ‘just keep on doing’ what he was doing. “I think I cherish it because of the source” who, he shares, was Naseeruddin Shah. Looking forward to what lies ahead, the cheerful scene-stealer, who has acted in the play The Hound of the Baskervilles that opened recently, might soon direct a production for which he is currently reading exceptionally well-written and great performance pieces, including the play Red Light Winter.

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