Devesh Nigam – Playwright, Film Maker, Director

“May be someday I’ll find my Bodhi tree of enlightenment, let’s hope!”

His is a story of a qualified engineer who decided to follow his heart and not his degree. While his batch mates were celebrating their passing out from the prestigious Delhi College of Engineering, Devesh Nigam was nurturing a secret desire in his heart. A desire to write stories, a desire to act …….

“I barely managed to pass in exams as I was too busy in writing short stories,” Nigam begins to tell his story. “The turning point came when I started regular 9 to 5 boss type of job which made it crystal clear to me that this is not my arena!”

And then began his journey of heart. He quit his job (his first & last) in 2009, indulged in writing more short stories, and begin watching plays at Mandi House.

He was both fascinated & amazed to see powerful plays like Charandas Chor, Begum ka Takiya, Ambedkar aur Gandhi, Tughlaq to name a few. Soon he was on the path of learning the nuances of theatre by working in production team, light design, observing the plays performed at various levels & assisting theatre directors. It helped him in observing & analyzing clichés in acting & direction. “I found street plays directed by Arvind Gaur impressive. I got a chance to work with him. It gave me the vision for classics and a sense of appreciation for contemporary theatre,” adds Nigam.

The learning culminated in the form of ‘Cineaste’ – his own theatre company. He formed it in 2011 for which he writes & directs plays. So far he has written 9 plays & directed 15 productions and has received critical acclaims for his work which includes Kafan, Moteram ka Satyagrah, Hawalaat, Bahut Bada Sawal, Addiction, 5 Kahaniyan, among others.

Theatre for Nigam is not just a platform to showcase his piece of work but it’s a medium of expression of his thoughts, resentment, and approach to life. And by expression of thoughts, he does not restrict himself of being critical about the happenings and preaching what should be done, but enveloping the little things of life like laughter, excitement, weirdness even boredom so that it can be realized in its complete form.

“My kind of theatre would be amalgamation of cinema and theatre. My efforts are focused on bringing cinema to theatre as both the art forms have its own captive power which is to be tapped so that the ecstasy of performing arts can be catered to a large audience. It’s not just form of dialogues, body language, but full of music, dance, and technology and why not! Theatre can be celebrating in nature.”

There is often a debate about Parallel or Arty Versus Commercial Theatre and Devesh outrightly rejects the idea. “I may sound like a seer when I say there is no as such parallel theatre and commercial theatre. The only kind of theatre which exist is good or bad theatre. It seems to be intriguing when an art is classified or bifurcated on such issues. Why a message invoking / issue based performance is to be termed as parallel and money fetching performance specifically comedies are termed as commercially viable or commercial. If entertainment can be given with message and vice versa, it’s not only good for makers but for the audience too. It’s like having both option of enjoying paneer tikka as well as chicken tikka in a menu.”

A Playwright, A Film Maker or a Director?

“Restricting myself to a particular role will be like abandoning myself from the joy of flow of wind. Sometimes the writer in me takes over the director when conceptualizing a performance or writer takes a backseat when it comes to realizations of concepts, performance. Writing gives me charge & inner satisfaction and through directing I feel more like making it impactful & at the same time enjoyable for the audience.”

He considers the short films a medium to express his first hand experience in his own way. As he tells, “The movie U TURN is about my personal experience when I was fighting with my thoughts to find out the path I should choose .The story is about an aspiring actor meeting with a fanatic follower of Hindi cinema & the plot unfolds a strange meeting in the chilly winter night of Delhi. Similarly, Talab was a movie about desperation. Both the movies are based on personal experience.”

When Nigam is not acting or scripting plays, he loves to be a keen observer. He says, “I enjoy watching plays, reading, and travel to discover myself and my characters.”
Nigam has his plate full when it comes to his future plans.

“I want to work on a varied number of subjects & realize my dreams of bringing cinema like quality to theatre & make it reach to a larger audience.”
“May be someday I’ll find my Bodhi tree of enlightenment, let’s hope!”


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