Tejaswini Patwardhan wears more than one hat. She is a film director by qualification, and scriptwriter, director and teacher by passion.
Her OPEN MINDS productions is well known for the street plays that she has been scripting, directing and presenting during the past few years in Powai especially during the Powai fest and Equal streets events. Her group of artists can convey a public message in a very simple and creative way, by creating an intense atmosphere and make it more impactful with their captivating acting skills clubbed with attractive slogans, catchy dialogues, uniform dresses and well-coordinated behaviour.
It is very interesting to note that none of the performers refer to a script as they are trained to be mentally alert.
All this happens under the open sky…what is unfolding before you is the magic called street play.
Tejaswini is also developing certificate courses on scripting for degree colleges. OPEN MINDS Productions is affiliated to international schools in Mumbai and is a talent provider to one of the top rated studios in India.
Here’s how Tejaswini, a resident of Hiranandani gardens brought this transforming genre of drama in Powai. (http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report-street-plays-go-mod-2219486
How did the journey begin?
“Powai has everything from malls to yoga but theatre was missing here”, opines Patwardhan.
Her troupe, which consists of kids aged between 8-12 years, college students, corporate honchos and even doctors, take up socially-relevant, and more importantly, modern subjects to turn into a street play.
By involving the community itself to perform and helping one realise their true potential, she has reiterated the oft said “street plays are of the people, by the people and for the people”.
“My drama school OPEN MINDS Productions involves all facets of dramatics, from acting and writing, to set and costume designing and finally direction. Dealing with parents who want to ‘push’ their child to be a good orator or a teenager who chops off his unruly locks to get into a character, drama unfolds!” she says.
Patwardhan’s approach to theatre is based in Navarasas, the nine emotions or moods that are rooted in all performing arts. “We train our students such that they learn and incorporate navarasas in every aspect, be it acting, writing or even lighting,” shares Patwardhan, “If you train a child in all aspects of theatre, he/she may be able to tap into another talent like writing, and not necessarily acting, which many parents push their kids for.”
The vivacious director deals with old and young alike, and here’s what she shares from her teaching experiences.
“Teaching is more often than not about helping others become inquisitive and aware of their self-worth. And while doing so being open to learning from those you teach.”
OPEN MINDS is doing a fabulous job in tapping into a lot of young talent. Tejaswini opens up about her experiences with young artists.
What do children know that adults seem to have forgotten?
Children are more confident, more courageous and enjoy life far more intensely than adults. A good thing about being their theatre mentor is that they open up to you. What I understood is that it is better to be open-minded and explore possibilities, rather than jump to a conclusion out of fear.”
It is heartening to see her young daughter Bhargavi’s enthusiasm in sharing her ideas and also performing with her friends in the plays written and directed by her mom.
It won’t be long before we will have a good number of multitalented superstars in our neighbourhood.