Ready to treat Punjabi cinema lovers with their acting skills and banter alike, Harish Verma and Sharan Kaur, who are leading the upcoming Punjabi film Drame Aale’ releasing on January 19, made a pit-stop in Chandigarh to share their excitement with us. This isn’t your typical Punjabi comedy, as the two actors promise. Harish Verma elaborates, “The movie is true to its title. It’s not just another entertainer, but actually has all theatre artistes as its actors. Even the theme is close to theatre. It blends the nuances of theatre and films beautifully, and the director has come up with something so new with this film.”

Theatre artistes and Drame Aale are synonyms in different languages, so keeping the essence alive the team chose Tagore Theatre as their venue to interact with the city-based theatre artistes. Among those present were theatre director Sahib Singh, actors Anita Shabdeesh, Baninder Bunny, Sangeeta Gupta, and more. Encouraging them to give it their all, Harish and Sharan, who also began their journeys as theatre actors, spoke about the blurring line between the two forms. “In contrast to the past, where theatre artistes struggled for even background roles, today more and moreof them are finding space in movies. It’s a positive change.”

Recounting his start as an actor, Harish Verma, who began theatre with Gursharan Singh in Chandigarh, says he owes a lot to the city. “I’ve spent years honing my acting skills under the tutelage of some renowned writers and directors here. I remember Gursharan Singh ji would often say, ‘Harish has it in him; he should get his portfolio ready and go to Mumbai.’ This is where the actor in me was born.”

Harish Verma has donned a turban for the first time in this film and takes pride in it, “When I look at myself in the mirror, I get this feeling that I am looking good. Turban really suits me; even my friends and fans have complimented me. Wearing it carries significant responsibility, undoubtedly providing me with an identity that feels both new and special.”

Learning ground

There are many firsts in the film for Sharan, which makes it very special for her. “From being my first comedy film, representing the theatre fraternity for the first time, and for the first time getting to act with the artistes of Pakistan’s Punjab, Drame Aale holds a special place in my heart for numerous reasons.”

Moving from theatre to TV to movies, both Harish and Sharan say, “Theatre is the bedrock; this is where the real training happens. An actor becomes an artiste when he has given his sweat and blood to theatre. The real polishing happens here. We can easily say it completes an actor’s life and journey when he makes his presence felt in theatre.”

But so much emphasis on theatre, especially when it’s a promotion for a film? Director-writer Chander Kamboj explains the connection. “Yes, Drame Aale is a film but it is also a play. It features theatre artists from Punjab, Pakistan, and Punjab, India. Without revealing much, I would say their performances will tell why the name Drame Aale.”