Rishab Karla is a core team member of Crane Creations Theatre Company. Rishab is a professionally trained theatre and film actor. He holds a Masters in Literature. He has been a professional actor since 2015 and has performed plays from Shakespearean tragedies to Chekhov and Beckett’s existential theatre. Theatre, for him, is an art which lets him observe and inculcate the human experiences, thus creating a path of spiritual elevation for himself and others. In 2021, Rishab joined Crane Creations as a Summer Ensemble member, He is part of Crane Creations production of Terror and works as a core team member.
Rishab Kalra an actor currently based in Brampton. He is originally from Yamunangar, a small town in Haryana, India. He spent the past 6 years in Chandigarh, India doing professional theatre there. He has completed a Bachelor in Sciences and Master of English from Panjab University, Chandigarh. He also holds a graduate certificate in Project Management from Humber College, Toronto. He has performed the tragedies of Shakespeare, the realist drama of Anton Chekhov, the Tragicomedies of Samuel Beckett, the modern Hindi plays of Mohan Rakesh, the absurd theatre of Kafka, to name a few. His passion is to create a medium that entertains, educates and evolves perception. The constant effort of changing the lives of people by the purgation of emotions and thus making people more empathetic towards others, carrying the responsibility of elevating the humankind to its full potential. He came to Canada in April, 2021 to advance his career as an actor.
Let’s Meet Rishab Kalra. An Interview With Rishab
How Did You Fall In Love With Theatre?
I was studying in an engineering college in Computer Science branch when I came to know that The National School of Drama, New Delhi requires 6 plays for an individual to audition for entrance. I had never been a part of any play and haven’t seen one until then as the place where I was raised was not rich in arts but the seed of acting was sown into my mind and heart in my childhood, watching Bollywood and particularly Shah Rukh Khan’s movies. I always wanted to become Shahrukh Khan as whenever I watched him on screen, he made me cry and I loved his movies. Now, to become an actor, I read somewhere that most of the actors in Bollywood are passed out from the prestigious NSD in Delhi. So, when I got the knowledge of the eligibility of the entrance audition, I left engineering after completing my first year and went to the nearest Metropolitan City, Chandigarh. I started pursuing General Sciences in Panjab University and joined the college theatre group, Sarv Saksham. I did my first Nukkad Natak(street play) in the college theatre and did my first on-stage audition where I was highly terrified and the audition went terrible. One day, I received a message on the college theatre group on WhatsApp that a theatre group, Rudra Theatre Company is auditioning for Macbeth. I auditioned and did the role of Macduff. That was my first stage play. The experience of the making of the play and rehearsals was miraculous. I never knew that something like that existed. That made me really a lover of Theatre and Acting.
Initially, I loved the experience of the Theatre and something which I didn’t know attracted me towards it. Now, Theatre, for me, is an art which lets me observe and inculcate the human experiences, thus creating a path of spiritual elevation for myself and the others.
As Natyashastra asserts that though entertainment is the desired effect of performance arts but the primary goal is to transport the individual in the audience into another parallel reality, full of wonder, to experience the essence of his own consciousness and reflect on spiritual and moral questions. ( Natya Shastra: A Sanskrit Text on the Performing Arts ~ Psy Minds (psy-minds.com) )Rishab Kalra
You Didn’t Graduate From Theatre School, but Studied In a Different Way.
I have never attended a Drama school but I am definitely keen to know what they teach there. I have been trained in Theatre by practicing Drama under my Guru and Director, Ravinder Kumar for approximately 5 years in Chandigarh. Under his guidance and direction, I learnt several techniques of the craft of acting and became aware of the importance of reading literature to become an artist. I read lots and lots of books which diversified my understanding of the human, his ways and the world. I performed various plays of Shakespeare, Mohan Rakesh, Chekhov, Dharamveer Bharti, Beckett, and so on. And for me, reading and practicing my art and craft under the guidance of my Guru had been my learning of the craft.
What is your advice to aspiring artists who want to become a professional like you? (100 + words)
For aspiring artists, my advice would be these three words:
Consciousness and Sincerity
Surrender yourself to the art completely and then the art will itself flow into you as the blood flows in your veins or the breath flows into you. Surrendering yourself makes you empty and you become a trough to hold on huge amount of water into you whenever it rains.
Persevere. Have patience. Have Faith. For whoever has had faith and remained undeviated from his path has reached. As Saint Kabir said that giving excess amounts of water to the seed will not result in its overnight growth and it will only grow in its own pace.
Sincerity towards your art is the key to success. Be sincere. Always. Sincerity will take you to the paths untread and for which you are afraid of, otherwise.
Who Are Your Theatre Inspirations?
I have always been a huge fan of Lawrence Olivier and particularly his performance in Othello. My role models are Irrfan Khan, Om Puri, Naseeruddin Shah, Pankaj Kapoor, and many more. Some of the performances of Irrfan khan are deeply embedded in my mind such as Maqbool, Doob, The Song of Scorpions, The Lunchbox.
Do You Have A Favourite Play?
To select one as the favourite play would be very difficult for me. But I can name some of my favourites, which are:
Andha Yug by Dr. Dharamveer Bharti
Lehron ke Rajhans by Mohan Rakesh
Aashaad ka ek din by Mohan Rakesh
Pair tale ki Zameen by Mohan Rakesh
Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Othello by William Shakespeare
Ivanov by Anton Chekhov
You Studied Literature. Do You Have A Favourite Poem?
The favourite poem list is also very long. But I like John Keats very much. And Rashmirathi by Ramdhari Singh Dinkar and Thakur ka kuaan by Om Prakash Valmiki counts among the best for me.
The Poem Thakur Ka Kuaan:
The stove is made out of mud
The mud is sourced from the lake
The lake belongs to the landlord
(We have) A hunger for bread
Bread made of pearl millet
Pearl millet grown in the fields
The field belongs to the landlord
The bull belongs to the landlord
The plough belongs to the landlord
The hands on the shaft of the plough are ours
The harvest belongs to the landlord
The well belongs to the landlord
The water belongs to the landlord
The crops and the fields belong to the landlord
The lanes that run through these neighbourhoods belong to the landlord
Then what is ours?
What about novels? Do You Have A Favourite Novel?
“Chokher Bali” by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore is the novel which has always excited me and given me goosebumps whenever I read it. And the stories like Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, Twenty six men and a girl by Maxim Gorky, Jeevit aur Mrit by Rabindranath Tagore, Godaan by Munshi Premchand, The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky, The lady with a Dog by Chekhov are some of the most beautiful literary pieces according to me.
We Are A Company That Speaks Many Different Languages. What Languages Do You Speak?
My mother tongue is Hindi but I am also fluent in Punjabi and English and a beginner in Urdu. Hindi is derived from Sanskrit and it has an expression for everything and the pronunciation doesn’t change with words as in English- “put” and “but”, the sounds of “u” changes but in Hindi the sounds remain same so according to me, Hindi language is much more technical and easier to use and is more expressive. As I have felt that there are certain things which you cannot express in English language
What is your Favourite Food?
I am a Punjabi and Punjabis are known for the Punjabi food. So, likewise, I am a foodie and my favourite food is Kadhai Paneer and Chilly Missi Roti. And my favourite dessert is Moong Dal ka Halwa. If I can get these things to eat, anyone can just rule over my heart. Yes, my heart is ruled by the tongue.
Do You Enjoy Music? What is Your Favourite Genre of Music?
I really like violin, sarangi and sitar. The sound of violin touches my soul and I can meditate upon the tunes of violin, sitar and sarangi. I am at the beginner level in playing violin.
I am fond of the music and songs of A.R. Rehman as they are highly passionate, sensitive and emotional.
You Are Now A Core Team Member Of Crane Creations, But You Were Originally Part of Summer Ensemble. What Was That Experience Like?
When I came here, I auditioned for the Summer Ensemble at the Crane Creations Theatre Company and after being selected, I was given the role of Malvolio and Antonio in the play Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare. This play was directed by Eugenia De Jong and I learnt several new and different techniques to approach a character working on each and every detail of the character and investigate the text in a detective manner. The method we used back in India was the peeling of character’s layers with time as we go ahead with the play in time, as we always had 3 months of rehearsals for a production. Here, I learnt the same thing but a different technique to do it faster as one production gets only 3-4 months in total to be staged.
You Are An Actor in Crane Creations. What Type of Work Are Your Doing As An Ensemble Member of Crane Creations?
I am acting in a play called Terror- A Courtroom Drama written by German playwright, Ferdinand Von Schirach, and has been performed in over 25 countries of the world and watched by half a million people. I am playing the role of Lt. Col. Lauterbach, who is a witness in this trial. We have a total of 6 shows, starting from Nov 26 and ending on Dec 12 and is taking place at The Clarke Memorial Hall, Mississauga. I am also playing the role of Ishwar Singh in one of the 4 parts of Manto, called Thanda Gosht, which is to be performed at The Rose Theatre in Brampton on Dec 18.