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Apara Mehta has been collecting a lot of air miles. That's because the actress, who's everyone's favourite saas on television, keeps flying to Ahmedabad to perform her plays in the evenings.
And then, she flies back to Mumbai to shoot for her television shows. "We have shows almost everyday in Gujarati theatre," explains Apara. "And with my TV shooting, my day becomes 18-20 hours. I shoot for the small screen in the day and act in plays in the evenings." But to do something like that, the actress says, one needs to have a lot of passion. "I am passionate about whatever I do. Acting is not an activity for me, it's a profession," she adds. The actress believes that with such demanding schedules, acting is not everyone's cup of tea. "You have to love it to do it! The day I feel I'm getting bored of it, I won't be able to do it," she says.
The actress, who's been active on stage since 1981, is currently part of the Gujarati play, director Feiroz Bhagat's Ek Bija Ne Nadta Rahiye. "Feiroz bhai and I have been working together for the past 12 years and are considered the golden pair of Gujarati theatre," says Apara, with a hint of pride in her voice. This play, the actress tells us, is a family drama about a marriage between a bachelor and a widow and the consequences that follow. "Gujarati theatre has to be commercially viable. Even if it's a play that's serious by nature, we have to do something to make it commercially viable," says Apara, "The story has to be told in a language that people understand. It has to be something very today. Even the moral has to be of today's time." Speaking of morals, Apara is one who believes that stage has a moral responsibility. "I believe that God has given artists moral duty.
The stage is after all, five feet above the ground. Actors have to be morally correct and I'm a big believer of that," she says. That's the reason, the actress likes to do shows that are entertaining, as well as have a moral at the end. "When you tell people something new or even tabboo, in an entertaining manner, they might understand it better and will respond to it," she adds.
For somebody who balances the small screen and theatre with such ease, it must be difficult to choose between the two and Apara agrees. "I love them equally," she says, "Even now, when I go up on stage, I feel the same thrill that I did way back when I started. There's an immediate response in theatre and even in TV, people watch the episode the previous night and I get the response the next day itself. I once told someone that I can's stay away from theatre for more than four or five days and it's the same with television."
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