When I was in seventh, Anvekar sir took us for a skit competition at Kala Academy in which I had acted. That was my first performance, but the real breakthrough came during my Higher Secondary School days when Dilip Dhargalkar gave me a break in the one-act play competition.
Imagine a situation when you are about to start a ticketed show and someone walks to you amongst the crowd with a thick file of documents. The documents have enough proof that the drama which you are about to perform is copyright protected and you have no rights. The hall is jam packed and this person who is standing next to you with the file is like a sword hanging over your head. What to do?. This is not a sequence from any film but a real life experience of Rajdeep Naik, a veteran actor who has given a new meaning to the professional Konkani theatre.
The incident occurred around 20 years ago when Rajdeep was in the group which was performing the drama ‘All the Best’. The original ‘All the Best’ drama was a Marathi hit and what Rajdeep was acting in was a crude imitation of the original play. That day, the drama continued, and the group in which Rajdeep was acting, vowed not to do the mistake again. That was the day that gave a star to Konkani theatre and movie industry.
Recalling his introduction to his passion, Rajdeep remembers Anvekar sir who encouraged him to participate in skit competition when he was in seventh standard. “When I was in seventh, Anvekar sir took us for a skit competition at Kala Academy in which I had acted. That was my first performance, but the real breakthrough came during my Higher Secondary School days when Dilip Dhargalkar gave me a break in the one-act play competition,” Said Rajdeep. “I also started directing one-act plays when I was studying at Government College Khandola,” added Rajdeep.
While narrating anecdotes about his theatrical journey, Rajdeep credits his success to ‘Rang Yatra’, an initiative by Vijaykumar Naik under Haus Theatre banner. It was in the year 2006 when the first students’ drama convention was held. Rang Yatra had invited college general secretaries from across the state, in which Rajdeep had represented his college. There were others like Eknath Naik and Jitendra Shikerkar who had also come for the event.
Rajdeep said that he was participating in the drama camps which helped him to know the nuances of drama making. There he learnt the science of drama which helped him to have a proper base for the theatre performance.
“There were certain guidelines which were taught to us during those days and we still follow them. For instance, we never show liquor bottle or dead bodies on the stage. In the year 1998, I started my commercial group ‘Kala Chetana’ which completes its 20 years this year. We have produced 65 dramas and 7,000 shows. The dramas include Shiri Re Shiri Adhantari, Tirangi Chakra Chakri, Ami Te Ami, O Bay, Shortcut, Puppa Eke Puppa, Ankwar Company and others,” said Rajdeep.
While having his edge over the commercial theatre in Goa, Rajdeep also acted in the movies starting from ‘Dekhni Durai’ penned by Pundalik Naik. His first major break came through the film ‘Mortu’ where he acted alongside Bharat Ganeshpure. Rajdeep carved a niche for himself with his mind blowing performance in ‘Home Sweet Home’ and its sequel ‘Home Sweet Home 2’.
Born in Savoiverem, this 42-year-old actor was impressed with the acting of Marathi star Sanjay Narvekar and Hindi film’s sensation Paresh Rawal.
After spending two decades on the stage, Rajdeep has decided not to act in the festival theatre which includes the dramas that are performed during the festivals like Ganesh Chaturthi. “There are some organisers who give immense respect to the groups but there are many who don’t give due credit,” rued Rajdeep.
He said that every drama that was produced had certain message. “We produced Firangi Fatas which gave a clear message on education in mother tongue. It is difficult to explain this topic through speeches but easy to tell it through theatre.”
Rajdeep knows that he has a long way to go in this field. He is one amongst the few people who have made theatre as their profession. The Neutral View salutes such a performer.