I have always been an entertainer: Mantra

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New Delhi, July 7 (IANS) Mantra started as a radio jockey, and navigated his way to television, theatre and films. The multi-talented actor doesn’t think much about the medium, and says he just wants to entertain people.

“It is something that has been a joyride for me from radio to TV to theatre to films. For me, the mediums kept on changing but I was always an entertainer, a performer. And that is what I am doing even today,” Mantra told IANS.

“You need to adapt according to different formats…If you are a batsman, you are a batsman, and if you are a bowler, you are a bowler… You need to get the basics right, and my basics are sorted,” added the actor, who is regaling people in Delhi with his Genie act in the ongoing Disney India’s Broadway-style musical based on “Aladdin”.

Mantra has featured in shows like “Mystery Hunters India”, “Narayan Narayan – Chulbule Narad ki Natkhat Leelayen” and “Family Fortunes”. When it comes to big the screen, he has projects like “Tum Mile”, “Game”, “Bheja Fry 2”, “Hum Tum Shabana” and “London, Paris, New York” to his credit.

“Radio is always going to be my first love because radio gave birth to RJ Mantra. Radio is in my veins. I will continue to consider radio to be my first love,” added the actor, whose real name is Puranjit Dasgupta.

Talking about his inclination towards theatre, he said: “You may call it live entertainment, big dramas or musical — the terms can change but it is always good to have people come and watch theatre.

“When it comes to getting people in a theatre auditorium, it has always been a tough task. Good actors and directors have always managed to have houseful shows. When it comes to Broadway-style musicals like ‘Beauty And The Beast’ and ‘Aladdin’, there is a lot at stake.

“It is great to see people come to theatre, no matter whether it involves two or 50 people. I am a theatre lover and I find it amazing when people give love to theatre.”

At the moment, he is busy with Delhi leg of “Aladdin” — produced by BookMyShow. The classic tale has been reimagined for the Indian stage, with around 50 performers.

Along with the dance revelry and music hoopla, there are many “desi” references to strike a bond with the audience. The show premiered in Mumbai back in April, and then travelled to Delhi, where it will be staged till July 15. It will then head to Hyderabad.

Many of us relate to Robin Williams’ voice as Genie in Disney’s 1992 classic “Aladdin”. And Mantra says the late actor is a legend.

“This is a Broadway style musical… One remembers Genie through the film with Robin Williams. He is a legend and he is a hero to us all. To step into those shoes, was phenomenal for me.

“Genie is the Virender Sehwag of the Indian cricket team. He is the master blaster. When, he is on the field, you know that there will be entertainment.”

But Mantra says it is being treated as a new story.

“It is no longer the animated film. It is the play that what stands for me,” he added.

On the work front, Mantra has his hands full.

“I have a web series which will be launched soon. I can’t reveal the name but it is a big time web series. And then ‘Aladdin’ travels to different cities. As an anchor, I will be hosting Pro Kabaddi for Star Sports… The year is packed and I am looking forward to it.”

(Sugandha Rawal can be contacted at [email protected])



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