I felt like a superwoman: Reena Wadhwa

NEW DELHI,MANISH MISHRA: The most striking facet about actress-entrepreneur-sophisticate Reena Wadhwa is her honesty. She’s frank, speaks from the heart and every word she utters is devoid of any artifice. She doesn’t shy away from speaking about her fears as a performer and also the mistakes she’s made. Perhaps that matter-of-fact approach to all things, reflects in other aspects of her life too.

She doesn’t like to socialise much and sticks to the rarefied circle of her close friends.

The multifaceted lady recently took a pell-mell plunge into the choppy waters of theatre when she played a narrator in a musical titled, Love Story — A Bollywood Musical, a part of India by the Nile 2016 — a celebration of Indian contemporary and classical music, dance, theatre, visual arts, food and wellbeing. The Embassy of India in Egypt and Teamwork Arts presented the annual cultural festival from April 23– May 7 in Cairo, Alexandria, Port Said, Ismailia and Beni Suef in Egypt.

Draped in opulent finery, this visually sumptuous theatrical showcase saw Reena play the narrator, who narrates a tale of a young boy who comes to a big city in search of a fortune but falls in love with a girl. One’s keen to ask, how did it start. “I was having a casual chat with Sanjoy Roy of Teamwork Arts and I told him that I did theatre 30 years ago. He said, ‘Unless you jump into it, you won’t do it’.”

Instant gratification
Quelling her apprehensions and fears, Reena embarked on a theatrical journey, which was emotional and physically draining for her but in the end, proved to be creatively satisfying.

“We did 11 shows in three cities —four days of matinees and night shows were very demanding. We did extensive rehearsals. Emotionally, it was a huge challenge for me as I was facing such a large live audience and I had to pull it off without making mistakes. Stage makes me extremely nervous and there are no retakes. As an art, the stage is the toughest high for me as you get instant gratification for your performance. We rehearsed in Delhi for two weeks.” She’s a house-proud lady and she left home and her children to be there.

Working against my fear
The experience and audience’s reaction shook her world upside down. “I felt like a superwoman when I came back. I worked against my fear. I felt more relaxed from within.” Were there any hiccups at the outset? “Now when I look back, I can honestly say that my opening performance was average. I did make mistakes during my first show with my lines and with entries and exits. However, it was smooth sailing after that. The audience responded at the right places with the right kind of applause.”

Theatre scene in India
“Honestly, I haven’t seen much theatre in India so I’m not in the best position to comment. However, factors like budget constraints may affect the quality of production but shouldn’t restrict your script or performance. I admire Naseeruddin Shah.”

Reena follows the theatre scene in London a lot more closely. “In India, one tends to get bogged down with too many responsibilities. Now I plan to take up theatre more seriously and will watch more plays,” she adds.

“Through this experience, I’ve realised I’m a performer and that I love freedom of expression. I’m an honest person and I enjoy these performances because of my honesty. It gives me an immense high to play a character.”

“Inspiration comes from performing. I draw a lot from the positivity around me and I try to run away from the negativity. Love Story – A Bollywood Musical was a very positive environment. People on stage were passionate, positively competitive, motivated and there was fabulous team spirit.”

Does she plan to bring it to India? “In India I don’t know if the production value will work. We plan to take it to Spain and other countries.”