When Doordarshan was at its peak, Jayant Kripalani was the face of a generation that wanted to bridge the gap between India and the cross-over in the small screen. One of the first and finest small-screen stars of the country, he featured in some of the most popular television serials of 1980s like Khandan, Mr. Mrs and later in Ji Mantriji (2003) which was an Indian adaptation of BBC's satirical sitcom, Yes Minister. Versatile as an actor and director, Kripalani has carried his charismatic aura over the years with his sheer talent. It is with the same ease that he dabbles in literature too.
Besides his accomplishments as a stage actor, while Kripalani has played some significant roles in movies like Rockford, Heat and Dust (1983) directed by James Ivory, sci-fi thriller Alag, 2008 blockbuster Jaane Tu...Ya Jaane Na, and 3 Idiots; he has also written the screenplay for Shyam Benegal's film, Well Done Abba (2009), and his writing collection includes his recently released novel, "Cantilevered Tales”. It is a story about people, their quirks and why they become who they become.
The actor-cum-writer was in the city recently for a literary festival when he spoke to My City Links about his journey as an actor and writer, and his experience in Odisha.
How do you manage your time juggling multiple jobs of an actor, writer, director and trainer?
Although a day has only 24 hours, we still manage to divide our time to do all of the work we love. That is the best thing. I am glad that I am able to manage to do all of them together. Moreover, all the work that I do is not just work; it is also my source of entertainment.
What do you love the most – acting or writing?
I love both acting and writing. These days, I don’t concentrate much on acting as I am ageing and I find it difficult to remember all the lines. I am more into writing now.
How you developed interest towards acting?
I have been into acting since my school days. Thereafter, I had joined theatre. But acting in films had happened accidently. I was a theatre actor, someone saw me there and offered me to play a small character in a film and I did it. I never desired to be a star. I often tried to do as many roles in theatre and television as possible. I love to enjoy my life and work, hence I often tried to avoid too much of hard work.
‘Ghar Jamai’, which aired on Doordarshan and was the first television serial that you wrote, was quite popular during those days. Do you plan to come up with any tele serials again?
Even after ‘Ghar Jamai’ I have written many other serials, but now I don’t want to write any Saas- Bahu serials. I feel that those days were different when stories were crucial, but now I have no interest in television industry. I am not a planner either. If anyone tells me to do something, I will do the job only after doing the required amount of research.
How do you see your journey?
I am not static and constantly on move. However, I am unsure about the direction that I am drifting. That is how I discovered the world of poetry. I have done tremendous research and then written what I felt would be liked by the people. I work with total commitment and feel that my life is like a reality show. That’s enough for me.
Tell us about your experience in Odisha.
It is always exciting to visit places and learn about their culture. I am glad that I got a chance to know Odisha and taste the taste of Odisha.