Tom Alter, the versatile actor, commentator and media personality, was in Cuttack to join renowned Odissi dancers Sharon Lowen and Kavita Dwivedi in their presentation of Fakir Mohan Senapati’s magnum opus ‘Six acres and a third’ (Chaa Maan Atha Gunth) in dance drama form at Sahid Bhawan Cuttack recently. In his baritone voice, Alter narrated the many sequences of the novel throughout the production. In an interview, the actor, spoke to Deepsha Rath about his involvement in the project and exposure to Odia culture and the novel.
Inspiration to get involved
I got to know about the novel from Sharon, who happens to be a dear friend. It was her idea to do a dance drama. I borrowed the novel from her and was deeply moved by the story. It is a novel which speaks about multiple social issues affecting the lives of the common people. The narration is very powerful. In Hindi we call it ‘Tanz’, I don’t have an exact English word for it. With a hint of humour, the expressions are magnificent.
Relevance of the novel
Well the novel is a very apt example of the current Indian scenario. You would see instances where exploiting people on the name of religion, helplessness of women, deceitful practices are shown in a very lucid manner. It has a very strong impact on the reader, with a clear social message. This is an immortal creation with high relevance to our social setup.
Visit to Odisha
I have been here before. I have got some Odia friends and I know about the rich cultural heritage of the state. It has got multitude of colours in the form of beautiful art and crafts and it is very rich in literature and music.
Future of theatre
The children have started getting aware of the significance of the theatre and other medium of arts. I have extensively worked with the children from the age group of 8, 9, 10, and 11 and was surprised to see their thirst for the medium. They have a strong knack to get into the cultural canvas. They are keen to imbibe. These days, the schools are missing poetry. In English medium schools, they do not emphasize on poetry, which they should. There would be a time when books will be the best friends of the children.
Impact of TV serials
Unfortunately, TV serials are not bearing a correct picture of the Indian society. The cultural aspect is not receiving the due importance. Though the audience is hungry for a new flavour, they are not getting the quality they strive for.