Q's Countdown

10 Backstage Badshahs

Each theatre group is usually driven by a creative being. Usually the director. Bombay theatre groups in particular are heavily director driven. There are a few, like ACE productions, that are producer driven and some like Aranya that are writer driven. But irrespective of who drives, each theatre unit requires an engine. And that engine is usually the 'legs' of the group. So this month I decided to countdown 10 people without whom their groups would never be able to function. These people are not
always seen on stage or even at the front of house. But they put in more hours than anyone else in making sure the show must go
on. So here goes, TEN BACKSTAGE BAD
SHAHS:
  1. Hanif Patni: Hanif has been the backbone of Ekjute for as long as I can remember. A true example of the tireless 'theatre worker'. From organising rehearsals, to running shows to even making sure the whole team is fed, Hanif ensures that all is taken care of. In addition to all of that he even steps onto stage.

  2. Sanjay Dadich: Another actor/production controller. All questions about Ansh go through him. All shows get booked through him. Makarand Deshpande might be the brains and the artistic head of the group, but Sanjay Dadich is the soul of the group.

  3. Saurabh Nayyar: Saurabh is Aranya's man-at-arms. From taking measurements of actors behinds so that the benches in Park can be made to booking shows and sorting out travel details, Saurabh does it all. He is also a freelancer and moonlights as part of the Prithvi Festival team.

  4. Rama Gowda: The only non-executive in our list. But Rama-ji loves the theatre even though he is never going to get on stage. He may not be the most efficient, but he enjoys picking up the AKvarious sets and make sure everyone is eating...even some who actually aren't part of the play at all.

  5. Jairaj Patil: Everyone seems to attribute Motley's success to the presence of Naseeruddin Shah. But Jairaj has grown from being a stage hand to becoming an executive producer of note. He takes all the logistical hassles away from the brains trust of the group, and is keenly involved in all aspects of the production.

  6. Ayaz Ansari: His tenure in theatre began as the Theatre Manager of Prithvi. He worked hard at keeping the building running. When he quit, everyone thought that would be the last we would see of him. But he seemed to find his feet in another area. And find his feet he did. He went to England to do a stint with Complicite and has returned as a top notch production controller. He now handles all of Rage's productions. And they do have a lot of productions.

  7. Sachin Kamani: A quiet almost unnoticed man, he disarms people with his smile. The Company Theatre has been carried by Sachin for almost ten years now. He never tires and is consistently pushing the company to new heights, be it the Evam cultural centre or the Blue Mug international tour.

  8. Tasneem Fatehi: This is a strange one. Becuase the company she works for doesn't actually put shows together (yet). But Tasneem has been instrumental in putting Theatre Professionals three major programmes in place - The monthly weeklong workshops, the Intensive Drama Programme each summer and the Drama in Schools Programme.

  9. Craig Dequadros: His journey in theatre started as an instructor with ACE Production's Little Actors' Club. But as the company has grown, Craig has begun to take over and handle all the company's productions. Each weekend he jets off to another destination where ACE productions bouquet of commercial plays are invited.

  10. Toral Shah: Yes she works for us. Yes I am biased. But honestly no list on Backstage Badshahs can be complete without THE SHAH, or rather T Shah. She is the engine, the conscience and the kick up the ass that keeps QTP running. She has trained many, and problem solved on many productions. Her incredible ability to make break down each show into a collection of lists makes her invaluable in the running of all our shows, events and miscellaneous projects, including Thespo.

Well that's the countdown. If you know of any others, do send. And also any ideas of what to countdown for next month.