My Story Soul Speak

Anil Bobade

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When I decided to name my company “Light is life”, many people asked me if I was sure that’s what I wanted to go with. But I knew in my gut. This was it. My journey had started with lights and I had reached where I wanted to because of it. It was only right if I honoured it so.

I came to Bombay to work as an electrician. I used to make a living doing local odd jobs until I crossed paths with theatre. It began by helping with the rigging of lights in small scale Marathi plays. I don’t exactly remember when I stopped with basic electrical work and devoted all my time to the theatre – but there was no looking back. Connections introduced me to Gujarati plays and I started travelling to different cities with theatre groups for their light set ups. Soon enough, I started working on Hindi and English plays too.

Kaiwan Mistry played a huge role in my career. I’d become a fast favourite and worked on almost all the plays he designed and programmed lights for. I will be eternally grateful for all that I learnt. My experiences with theatre have always been life changing. That too in the most extreme ways. We were setting up for a play at Sophia College, Mumbai. I was bent over some equipment on stage while one of the light men was on the catwalk above rigging a light. Accidentally, the light slipped and came crashing down right at me. It was a mess. There was a huge pool of blood and I had to be taken to the hospital immediately. If I had been standing upright, I wouldn’t have been able to live to tell the tale. But even extreme situations like that haven’t made me turn my back on the theatre.

My work is my passion. There were times where we had three different shows for three days straight and we would spend all three nights setting up for the next. Schedules like that were hectic, but with them came a certain sense of satisfaction. I dabbled in programming and designing lights for school performances and some plays, but supplying lights was always my main job. I’ve been a lights supplier in the industry for more than 30 years now. In fact, due to the pandemic, it will be the first in many years that I miss out on the Prithvi Theatre Festival or Tata Literature Live!

The current situation hasn’t been great. The first few months of lockdown weren’t kind to me and my men. Only recently, and very ironically, I have come back to doing odd electrical jobs for people in my society. I figure anything is better than sitting idle at home. Now, I can only count off the days till I can be back on the field lighting up the stage again.

About Reema Sunil

A budding marketing enthusiast with an undying passion for theatre, home made meals and everything Asian.

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