"We lead rather stressful lives with little time to unwind and it helps to have an outlet that you can positively channel your energy into."
A senior project manager by day and a director by night, Bejoy Balagopal of InMobi gets the best of both worlds!
Here is a small glimpse into his world as we get up-close and personal.
1) Can you describe your journey as an artist?
I have always been interested in performing arts, right from my school days. The earliest forays were in the annual school/community plays. In the senior years at school, the interest extended beyond just acting and into (some) writing as well.
When I was about 12, I got the opportunity to be part of some full lengths plays directed by a theatre veteran and put up on a professional stage in front of a huge, discerning audience. I think the love for the stage, the lights, the process and, dare I say, the applause, got cemented then. Post that, I had lost my touch with the stage as I moved through college and early years of my work life.
I reconnected with theatre about 5 years ago. Since then I have got trained in improv, interactive theatre as a performer. I also got the opportunity to write/direct short plays for some Theatre Festivals in Bangalore
Recently, 3 of us, my wife (Radhika), a friend (Debleena) and I have started our own group - First Drop theatre. My wife, Radhika, shares the passion for theatre and has been very active in the theatre space in Bangalore these last 5 years. We just staged our first production - 'Adhvanika...On a Journey', a play that is a collection of 5 original short stories (written by me and my friend, Debleena Roy)
2) When did you pick up an interest in it?
I guess it started with the love for the magic of movies. I remember being a movie buff from a very early age, as early as perhaps 3! I was mesmerised by the different characters on screen, which I later realised, is called 'acting'. I also remember being attracted to the whole process of generating stories. From a very young age, stories would flood my head and in the growing up years classmates and cousins were my audiences.
The opportunities, as mentioned in question 1, then came by and I found myself enjoying being on stage. There were several stories I had written (or scribbled!) as a kid, and the dual love - towards performing and writing, just kept evolving.
The early encouragement, from my parents and teachers, have played a very significant part in this whole process.
3) Who/What is your inspiration?
There is no one person that I can point out. It's like sport - you get an opportunity to do it, some fall in love with it and some don't. I was fortunate to get some early opportunities which were nice experiences thereby encouraging me to sustain the interest.
4) Is there any affect this has on your work?
I have theatre and it helps tremendously to 'switch off', which I think is very important. We lead rather stressful lives with little time to unwind and it helps to have an outlet that you can positively channel your energy into.Also, theatre teaches, rather forces, you to be constantly alert and on your toes. It also nudges you to think of solutions. Another aspect is of people interaction - the key to any successful theatre effort is the synergy of the group that's involved, so in some ways, it's constantly sharpening your people skills which I think is so very important in your professional life too.
5) What would you want to tell everyone out there who want to pursue their dreams?
I am not sure if I am the right person to dole out this advice as I have been, and continue to be, guilty of not being proactive enough with regards to pursuing my dreams :-)
All I can say is that people often say that the first step is the most difficult. I don't think so, the 1st step is often easy - it always presents itself, either as a planned effort or one took up on a whim or fancy, or just pure luck. People often tend to not follow up beyond that first step - other priorities, time, laziness - several factors crop up. So just take several of these first steps and you will realise that you always figure out ways to work around other things. And in dreams, there are no failures, so why worry? :-)
Catch them in action! Follow First Drop theatre here!