"Movies will make you famous; Television will make you rich; but theatre will make you good," are the thoughts of famous American actor-director, Terrence Mann. Theatre has always been the training ground for actors to hone their acting skills and when you see someone like Sumeet Thakur in Handloom Pictures' digital films - MUTE, UNMUTE and PAUSE, you will only agree with this.
"Acting helps you lose your inhibitions. It gives one a deep sense of freedom. This feeling inspired me when I was young, so I carried on. I got involved in theatre, started attending workshops and then acted in short and feature length films," Thakur recalls.
His first play was 'Waiting for Godot!' with his friends in Kolkata. Besides, he has also acted in plays like 'The Homecoming' by Harold Pinter, 'Silence! The court is in session' by Vijay Tendulkar, 'Intro and Video', original plays devised by Tin Can.
Thakur was in no hurry to move to Mumbai, the dreamland for aspiring actors, the hub of Bollywood. He got an opportunity to train at Adishakti, a laboratory for theatre arts and research, in Auroville for a year.
After moving to Mumbai in 2013, Thakur got a chance to work in Ram Subramanian-owned Handloom Pictures Company's MUTE. The single shot film portrayed an apparently mute man (Thakur) who expressed his anger over the condition of the country. Through sign language, he talked about how there are disturbing stories in the newspaper that end up spoiling someone's morning. The film was released ahead of the Lok Sabha Elections 2014.
On how he landed up with the role, he shares, "When I came to Bombay last year, I mailed my work and pictures to casting directors and started going for auditions. Abhimanyu Ray cast me for MUTE. His assistants sent me this script with a reference video and the audition went well, that is how I got it. It happened within two months of being in Bombay and felt amazing".
For MUTE, he trained with Tushar Kansara to learn the sign language. "Then Ram and I would rehearse it to get it tighter, in a rhythm, more natural. It took about a month for the whole process to get perfect. It's one take! So it felt similar to theatre."
The MUTE film got him recognition and accolades from all over. The face was associated with the film and when its second part, UNMUTE was launched, he was seen on the screen again...this time talking to the audiences. His acting skills helped him retain Subramanian's projects and he became a part of PAUSE. The third film urged citizens on both sides of the border (India and Pakistan) to engage in a healthy conversation with one another.
Besides acting, he likes travelling and writing. Thakur is also into music and plays the guitar, keyboard and percussions. He has even performed with some friends in Mumbai and played a few gigs with Riddim Funktion, a reggae, dance and funk band. For the moment he is training under the Jeffery Gold Studio since January where he acts in short films and plays.
While 'Happy' is the word he wants to describe year 2014 with, he signed off saying he wants to keep acting, playing music and enjoying his life. "Right now I'm taking it as it comes, I'm looking forward to the next two-three years in terms of my work and life. I'd like to travel a bit more than I manage to now. I will also continue working at Jeffery Gold Studio."