The Go-Getters is our space to feature all the young talents out there, who are scaling the mountains to reach greater heights. Every month, we introduce you to two talented artists, who are fast making their marks in their chosen art.
Every time you talk to theatre actor BharatiPerwani or BharatiBhakthi as she is better known in artistic circles, you realize time and again as to what a great story-teller she is. Her stories give a sneak peek into the young artist’s journey with art, theatre and her unwavering love for the stage. Bharati’s dream of becoming an actor developed right from when she began watching television shows. She used to envision herself on the other side of the screen and use to unabashedly dance away to the catchy numbers that came on air. That young girl’s dream soon became a deep-rooted passion for dance, theatre, films, poetry and art as a whole. After her schooling, she moved from her hometown Ajmer to Jaipur where she started assisting in dance programs for about a year. But deep down, she always knew that there was something bigger that she was meant to do in life. “I vividly remember a night when I was in my room crying my heart out because I just could not understand what to do to make my dreams come true. I remember calling up my friend Alankar Singh and pouring out my feeling of helplessness to him. I soon forgot that incident, but thankfully he did not.” In fact, he played a key role in shaping her future and eventually connected her to her first theater experience and helped her take that first difficult step. In her own words, if the artist Bharati exists today, it is because of her family and friends. She admits that her friends circle has been her support mechanism and she is deeply thankful to her friend LohitVyas who has helped her continue her journey.
Bharati says that she has always been one for the stage with an initial interest in dancing. But being a true tomboy during her childhood,her teachers never really thought she could dance. She ended up just dancing in front of mirrors at home. But in her 7th grade, she was cast in the key role of King Sidhartha for a school play on GautamBudha. Sporting short hair, a red tilak and dressed in her father’s kurta, she thus made her first grand entry into world of theatre and has never looked back since.
Ask her about her inspiration in life and she points out that as time passes, inspirations change as well. TV shows and actors on the silver screen had inspired a lot during her childhood. She joined theatre for her pure love for acting and then immersed herself in it after a chance encounter with the renowned dramatist and poet KavalamNarayanaPanikkar. There is an interesting story there too. Bharati had got an opportunity to attend a five day festival ofKavalam N Panikkar in Rajasthan. The experienceleft a lasting impression on her and she was determined to work with Kavalam somehow. She eventually ended up gathering the courage to call Kavalam on the phone directly! As luck would have it, he picked up the call and Bharati blurted out her interest to learn from him. She said that she was ready to come to his hometown in Kerala to make this possible. She recalls with a smile “Though initially hesitant and not fully convinced about my reasoning, he finally agreed. But on two conditions – I had to meet and discuss the details with his granddaughter Kalyani ma’am who also happened to be in Jaipur at that time. And I had to bring my mother to that meeting as well! He must have thought I was running away from home!” She managed to convince the maestro’s granddaughterabout her desire to learn and finally travelled to Kerala to fulfill that dream.
The respect and admiration that Bharati has for the late Kavalam N Panikker is evident throughout her conversation about him. She says “If you are an artist, then you should have worked with him at least once in your lifetime. He is someone who is extremely passionate and truthful to his work” She is also full of praise for his entire team who she worked with in Kerala. “I have had the good fortune of working with a lot of theatre groups across India. But I am yet to come across one that surpasses the passion shown by Kavalam sir’s team. It was a delight and an honor to be associated with them in my career.” She strongly believes that this period is among the best 8-9 months of her life and says that she will always be grateful to him for accepting her. The fact that a non-Malayaligirl survived in Kerala for that long amidst people who are not fluent in her language, speaks volumes about the comfort and hospitality shown by the maestro and his wife. It speaks equally about her determination and willpower to achieve her ambition in spite of all hardships.
Talking about Kavalam, Bharati shares an interesting anecdote about her name and how it came to be spelt as it is now. In North India, Bharati is spelt as Bharti without an extra ‘a’. But Kavalam was adamant that the right way is Bharati and that she had always been spelling her own name wrong. One day, on an instinct, she asked Kavalam for an autograph. Surprised that someone who has been staying with him had asked for an autograph, he still went on to give her one. In it, he spelt her name as Bharati and that has remained so ever since. She considers it as a blessing from her guru and has not changed it ever since.
Bharati is an alumnus of the renowned Madhya Pradesh School of Drama, Bhopal. Her time there is a big influence on how she has grown as an actor. Bharati’simpressive theatre portfolio includes a play titled Her Letters adapted from Rabindranath Tagore’s StreerPatra. This was also covered by Arts Illustrated magazine and received a lot of recognition. She has also acted in a self-directed solo which was based on a feministic storyline. However, her favorite themes are on the dark side and she has always been fascinated by stories that explore human relationships and feelings and that are out of the ordinary.
Currently in Mumbai, Bharati is venturing into films and is serious about making a niche for herself in the acting space. But she feels that theatre is so much a part of her that she cannot let it go completely. Even though it is time-consuming and does not always monetarily benefit as much as cinema, she still needs to be around and perform on the stage. Her role modelis Al Pacino who is an epitome of success in the industry and is a huge source of inspiration for her. Bharati’sgreatest wish is to see herself as a globally acclaimed actor for the rest of her life.
Team Salabhanjika wishes her the best in all her endeavors.