ARTIST RENDEZVOUS – MEHAK MIRZA PRABHU
Here is our next artist rendezvous with yet another stupendous artist.
An artist who needs no introduction, an entrepreneur, a brilliant storywriter and a storyteller , she mesmerizes everyone with her art, keeping the entire audience engaged with her brilliant performances over the past few years — An artist who keeps growing on you with her each and every performances day over day — here’s a huge round of applause for none other than Mehak Mirza Prabhu.
We got an opportunity to ask her few questions about her artistic journey so far, her future work, and about the prospects in the art of storytelling for the budding and upcoming storytellers.
1. Please tell us about your journey from an entrepreneur to a storyteller? When was that moment when you decided to do so & why?
Mehak : The journey to become a Storyteller starts the minute one is born. Every experience you are given in your life is a learning for that moment in time when you are ready to take the plunge. Being an entrepreneur for a decade was just a natural course of that journey. Storytelling came as a calling to me in 2016 and everything else my life had been before that, just merged seamlessly into it like many rivers into an ocean.
2. What propels you to conceive newer subjects/topics when you sit down to write? How do you go about building newer characters?
Mehak : There are times when a character starts developing in your subconscious first, maybe from someone I have seen or maybe from a part of me that is hidden within. Other times situations happening around me or that I have heard of, stay in my mind and urge me not to stop thinking about them. Either ways the ones that refuse to leave my mind and gut are the ones I proceed to develop a story on.
3. Can you tell us the important things to keep in mind when a person chooses this profession ?
Mehak : Are you willing to be in front of people EXACTLY how you would be in front of your close friends, family, mirror? Only if you can be brave enough to bare it all, go for it. Because once the floodgates of compassion open, you will not have control over what the heart decides to talk about.
4. What were the different challenges you had faced initially and how did you overcome?
Mehak : Storytelling was a way out for me, out of the challenges life was throwing my way before. So everything that storytelling got for me was only a bonus. But if I have to tangibly point out a challenge then it would my intense phobia of the stage and public speaking.
5. Who has been your inspiration / role model in your life ? What qualities/skill do you think they possess which you are still trying to work on it?
Mehak : My inspiration has always been people who have yet not found their way out of their challenges of life. People struggling day to day with issues that just don’t let them be free and enjoy life, are the ones who inspire me. Their resilience and smiling through it all is something I try to inculcate in myself everyday.
6. On professional front — which artist/s work do you really enjoy & follow?
Mehak : I am not much of a reader and neither do I consume online content as much, so that would be a tough one to comment on, as I truly do not know all artists’ work. But few amazing humans and artists I have come across are Amandeep Singh, Kopal Khanna, Mohammad Muneem, Suhani Shah, Navaldeep Singh, Saini Raj, Gaurav Tripathi, Yahya Bootwala, Imtiaz Ali, Piyush Mishra, Swanand Kirkire, Mirza Ghalib.
7. What according to you is the most important aspect in your way of storytelling that gels with your audience so nicely?
Mehak : Two words: Reality and unpredictability.
8. Your storytelling act ZOYA KI DIWALI was listed as the ‘Top 10 theatre acts of 2017’ by the Mumbai Theatre Guide. Can you elaborate on the event and act?
Mehak : Zoya ki Diwali is an act that I created in collaboration with poet singer songwriter Mohammad Muneem. It’s a story of a 8 year old girl who wants to celebrate Eid and Diwali together. It’s a story of innocence, humanity, love and celebration, which ends with a beautiful song. I have played 8 characters, through voice modulations in Zoya ki Diwali.
9. Tell us more about Jhumritalaiya ? What made you start these workshops? How it helps budding storytellers to fine-tune their art?
Mehak : Jhumritalaiya, the Storytelling pathshala for Fictional stories only, is where my heart and soul resides these days. The thing about becoming a story writer and teller is that one has to first get thoroughly acquainted with oneself. It’s a kind of therapy where the therapist and the patient both evolve together, becoming a better and more human version of themselves. Only when you know yourself can you do justice to others’ emotions. Jhumritalaiya, mentors individual students , through one on one online sessions, to discover the unique storyteller in them and to find the stories that they are meant to tell based on their personal journey and learnings.
10. What according to you are the different avenues for budding storytellers when they choose storytelling as their mean of bread and butter? What are the challenges the newcomers would face according to you?
Mehak : When you decide to pursue any artform as a full time career the biggest challenge is to get in the right mind set. Few pointers here: switch completely only if it keeps you so busy that you don’t have time to do any other job, treat the delivering of the art like a job, think commercially along with artistically, find the balance.
11. Can you tell us about your future projects? Mrs. Dubey & Aarambh project have gathered rave reviews — tell us what’s in store for your audience up next?
Mehak : The next moment is always a surprise or shock. Just taking one day at a time. But one story a day is what I promise my dairy, that is all that is in my control. The destiny of those stories I do not plan.
12. You had been invited to IFP recently at Mehboob Studios — how was your experience — tell us more about that ?
Mehak : Three years back I was struggling to find a space for storytelling and thus used to try other writing formats to enter reputed festivals. I had sent a short film script entry for IFP 2017, even I was not satisfied with it, but there was nothing as storytelling that year. This year storytelling had found its deserved space on the same stage, I was emotional and humbled to be representing that artform.
13. Apart from poetry & storytelling — How else do you keep yourself busy?
Mehak : By living simple fulfilling life with my daughter, my pets, exercising, learning new new things, cooking, binge watching friends. That’s it.
14. If you had to compare yourself to one fictional character, who would it be? Why?
Mehak : It would be Howard Roark of the book Fountainhead. The answer is the whole book.
15. What according to you is the relevance of a quality/genuine platform for artists and talent agencies to connect and seek opportunities ? What do you think about WorthITT ?
Mehak : WorthITT is doing a brilliant contribution to art by supporting experimental artforms and budding artists. As artists we do not know how to sell our art, and thus it becomes very easy and focused if a artist manager takes that burden of our heads. Kopal, my artist manager, is a precious addition to my journey as a Storyteller, undoubtedly.