Born to an actor mother who would often play melodramatic roles in Gujarati plays, veteran artist Ratna Pathak Shah never quite liked the idea of being an actor. She resented the fact that it was simply assumed she would be an actor owing to her mother, Dina Pathak's career, and it took her a while to realise that acting was where her heart lay.
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"I was always taken along for my mother's shows, but I never enjoyed seeing them," Ratna said, adding that the backstage was her haunt.
She was speaking at a session at the ongoing Mountain Echoes literary festival in Thimphu.
It was her introduction to theatre director and actor Satyadev Dubey that opened her eyes to the possibilities of what theatre could do.
"He did not rely on magic. He used texts that talked about issues that were around us, and discussed contemporary new ways of looking at the world.
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"He did plays by writers like Mohan Rakesh and Girish Karnad, and would give them the most simple, without frill kind of styling," she said.
But, Ratna's journey to become the star she is today was not an easy one. There were struggles, the biggest and the foremost being to be able to commit to acting and to believe that the profession was worth all the hardwork.
Her "breakthrough" was the popular television sitcom "Sarabhai vs Sarabhai", where she played the sophisticated upper-class matriarch, Maya Sarabhai.
"It (television) made me realise that there was a lot to the acting business that I didn't know but could find out. And it gave me a great deal of confidence. It made me see acting from a perspective that I hadn't seen before," she said.
The actor was in conversation with theatre artist Sanjana Kapoor.
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