Anna Ador is a filmmaker, actor and theatre artist who was born and brought up in Belarus, Europe. Her love for the performing arts and Indian culture brought her to India in 2011 and she has been here since. We had the chance to catch up with her as she took a trip down memory lane and explained how she couldn’t escape the magical pull of the theatre.
My parents are academicians by profession but during their years in college and school, there wasn’t any extra curricular activity they weren’t involved in. As they didn’t give into their artistic calling, I like to think that I am fulfilling all their dreams by being in this field. Performing was something I connected to right from the very beginning. My grandmother used to love watching Hindi movies and I would sit next to her, eyes never straying from the screen. I loved the songs and the dance and would try to drape my bedsheet into a saree and follow along. My mom enrolled me into a dance class where I learnt a little bit of everything – Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Bollywood, Bhangra – until there was no turning back.
Theatre was something that became a big part of my life at the age of 12. I got associated with a theatre group in Minsk and started travelling to different countries and cities to do shows. I started representing my country around the world. Those three years were some of the best times of my life. I had even planned out what I wanted to do further. I had a grant to go study in New York and I couldn’t have been more excited. But the ties between Belarus and USA were not great. My visa was rejected and I had a tough year trying to come to terms with it.
During that time, as a side job after school, I used to work at Indian exhibitions. I used to translate Russian to Hindi and would explain the nuances of Indian culture. It was here that opportunity came knocking at my door. An Indian family I knew invited me to Delhi for a wedding and I said yes without a second thought. I went to Delhi just for the wedding but ended up renewing my visa and enrolling into a film school to study. I originally wanted to go back after studying, but I had met so many interesting people, interesting jobs were coming my way and I had made my way into the theatre circuit. So home had to take a back seat. I can’t believe its 2020! I’ve been here 9 years but I don’t regret a second of it.
I’ve worked in the cinema quite a lot in my time here, but the magic of acting in the moment surpasses all. When you are performing on stage, you need to be so present and so alert, to the point that your heartbeat changes with every scene. You are breathing in a different way as you transcend. There are no second chances or do overs. You take on the stage and, in that moment, you make it your own. It’s addictive that feeling and always leaves you wanting for more. No amount of money, fame or connections could overpower that. A performance very close to my heart would be the one in Atul Kumar’s Detective Nau Do Gyarah. I’ve always loved pieces that involve a lot of movement and this play was it for me. It was fast paced, exciting, visually stunning and every show was a whirlwind. We had multiple quick costume changes, there were huge set pieces that were changing positions, lights were being pushed around and props were sneakily exchanging hands. All that chaos but I felt right at home.
There is so much to explore in the theatre. Especially in such a diverse country like India where ideas, design, production, language – everything changes with each passing state, city, town or village. This is what I say to anyone who is entering the field or to anyone who asks me why I’ve still stuck around. It’s simple really – there is still so much left to learn! And to have a community of like-minded people who foster that urge to constantly work at themselves and grow, while supporting each other, is a treasure. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.