Veteran actor Kulbhushan Kharbanda, who returned to theatre after a hiatus of 20 years, has expressed happiness over the growing popularity of theatre.
"It is good to see the audience numbers go up. They are appreciating theatre in all languages," said the thespian, at the preview of Kolkata-based theatre group Padatik's latest Hindi play "Atmakatha" (Autobiography) here Wednesday.
"Atmakatha", an adaptation of Mahesh Elkunchwar's Marathi classic, brings together Kharbanda, Chetna Jalan, Sanchayita Bhattacharjee, and Anubha Fatehpuria along with Vinay Sharma.
Kharbanda plays the role of a famous writer who is penning his autobiography and discovers how his relationships with the three women in his life -- his wife, his sister-in-law and a scribe -- have evolved.
Kharbanda's last venture on stage was "Sakharam" in 1991.
Best known for portraying the villain Shakaal in the 1980 Hindi movie "Shaan", he has received critical acclaim for his roles in parallel cinema, notably Mahesh Bhatt's "Arth" and Deepa Mehta's Elements trilogy - "Fire" (1996), "Earth" (1998), and "Water" (2005).
"It is difficult to say which role was the most memorable. They were all so different and equally satisfying," said the actor, who is also one of the founders of Padatik.
Prior to his acting career, Kharbanda has had a productive experience as a theatre artist.
"I was part of the groups 'Abhiyaan' and 'Yatrik' during my Delhi days. Later on, I moved to Kolkata and worked with Padatik. It is pure nostalgia for me," reminisced Kharbanda.
Known for capturing intense moments with elan, he has equal fondness for both cinema and theatre.
"Both are different media. Cinema is more of director's medium whereas theatre is partial to the actor. But I enjoy both as long as I am happy with the roles," said the 68-year-old.
In spite of having three Hindi movies in his kitty, the actor wishes to do more theatre.
"I will never say no to theatre. As long as people want to work with me, I will keep at it," affirmed the actor.