For the fourth panel at the Women Writers’ Fest in Mumbai, theatre actors Dolly Thakore and Ira Dubey sat down with moderator Sudha Menon for a candid and spunky conversation on Feisty Women and Feisty Stories. From success and failure, and experimenting with jobs and life, Thakore and Dubey relegated the audience with personal stories, which not only shed light on their journey as theatre artists, but also evoked a nostalgia for an era where everything wasn’t a click away and you had to find your place in this world the hard way.
Men didn’t deter me ever
Thakore was one of the first female faces on Doordarshan, working as a news presenter. Despite working as a BBC presenter previously it was a different setup and recalling her experience of working in a male-governed environment, she said, “Men didn’t deter me ever. But in those days, we didn’t have the intelligence or the independence to think the way that we do now. So, whatever was given to you or whatever the authorities said, was what you had to do. I remember having to read every single word that was given to me. And the only changes that I ever made was when it came to politics because I was very much into politics and news. So I knew my news at the back of my hand. I could tell you who stood from which constituency, how much money he put in, how many votes he’d lost by, and these details were in my head. So I didn’t even have to look at my paper to know.
In those days, we didn’t have the intelligence or the independence to think the way we do now.- Dolly Thakore
And that is why I was better known than a lot of others who were very good news readers at that time. So, I knew my news. And the biggest quality that I am remembered for is that we didn’t have teleprompters in those days. But I could read 15 words at a time by just looking at my script and was able to speak it out.”
"Leaving home young was tough"
Dubey said that she was taken over by the nasha of acting at a very young age. She got into Yale on a scholarship but she dropped out after three years, took a year off and transferred to St. Xavier's College in Mumbai. On dropping out of Yale due to adjustment issues and switching her studies from theatre studies to English literature, Ira said, “It gave me stability. In India, you have a certain culture and a certain support system which doesn’t exist in America. I do admire many things about them, like the act that at sixteen-seventeen their kids are on their own, which is a good thing. But there were stark cultural differences. So coming back to India meant coming home, really, finding some grounding again and figuring out yourself again. This is something that every young child goes through.
In India, you have a certain culture and a certain support system which doesn’t exist in America. - Ira Dubey
Somebody once told me, that in your twenties, you are really just experimenting, in your thirties, you are understanding who you are, in your forties, you know who you are, and by your fifties, you don’t give a damn. So coming back to India and getting involved in theatre gave me a lot of solace.”