Writer, Director, Author, Journalist & Founder of The Mirror Merchants
Writer, Director, Author, Journalist & Founder of The Mirror Merchants, multi-faceted Arnesh Ghose was born and schooled in Calcutta and has been doing theatre from the age of 4.
He started off as a child actor, working with various reputed theatre companies including Rudraprasad Sengupta’s Nandikar. Slowly, he ventured into writing for stage and finally directed his first full-fledged production at the tender age of 15. He has worked with original plays by various writers and has also dabbled with classic by Shakespeare and Tagore.
Arnesh moved to Mumbai for his graduation in film and advertising but continued to pursue his passion for theatre on a college level, performing at all of the city’s theatre and performing arts festivals. Right after graduation, the lack of scope of theatre for youth encouraged him to create a young theatre collective, ‘The Mirror Merchants’ (TMM) – a group of young amateur actors who wanted to take up theatre professionally – in 2010.
After producing and directing a 45-minute comedy based on Shakespeare’s Anthony and Cleopatra for the NCPA in 2012, Arnesh’s next full scale production, a dark drama with elements of comedy, macabre and Indian folk theatre, ‘Asylum’ (adapted from Peter Weiss’s Marat/Sade) was staged in 2014 to critical acclaim and commercial success, running multiple shows in the city. ‘Murgistaan’, The Mirror Merchants’ next production, a slapstick comedy laced with dark humour, hit the stage in 2015. It was inspired by Satyajit Ray’s acclaimed film, Hirak Rajar Deshe (The King of the Land of Diamonds) and was a humorous astute commentary on Indian politics and administration. A grand success, Murgistaan was running to packed houses for weeks.
Alongside all of this, Arnesh also folds an acclaimed Master’s degree in Comparative Mythology and has been published in a collection of short stories – Not Like Most Young Girls - by Jaico Books (edited by Shobha De in association with NGOs working with sex workers in Mumbai).
Currently an experienced, successful journalist, Arnesh is also an avid photographer, major foodie and has a trained singer in Hindustani classical music (vocals) with 2-year specialisation in ghazal-qawwali-geet. A powerhouse of energy, he also plays the tabla, sitar and violin in addition to being a professionally trained Kathak, tap, ballroom and salsa dance. We’re not quite done yet, this multi talented genius has even studied art and sculpture informally for 8 years!
Arnesh plans to venture into casting for films and ads this year and provide holistic training for actors across mediums. He also uses performing arts for wellness sessions for rejuvenation and inner healing called the Detox Weekends and soon plans on foraying into writing for film. Arnesh likes his chocolates and humour very, very dark.
Arnesh, via his theatre company aka The Mirror Merchants, also conducts regular acting workshops for young adults interested in theatre and film and also established actors who wanted to polish their skills. His vision behind TMM is to encourage new actors for all their productions, giving young talent a chance to experience a professional stage and regale in the joy of live performance.
The Mirror Merchants’ and Arnesh’s latest production opens in February 2016 – Chaarpaai. A collection of 4 short plays on womanhood, sexuality, censorship and gender equality, the play is also a part of The Chaarpaai Project which aims at generating more conversations about women’s issues, rights and freedom of expression sans judgment and censorship. The Mirror Merchants is also producing two music videos and three virals for The Chaarpaai Project which discuss the issues mentioned above. An art collective is also in progress, which will be expanded into pop-up art exhibitions across the city. The Chaarpaai Project also plans to start meetings and discussions all through the year to bring forth some kind of change in attitude and to gain better social perspective. The Chaarpaai Project also plans to produce short films based on the subject at hand.
Over my years of working in the theatre scene in Mumbai I have realized that practitioners as well as the audience can be extremely myopic about quality. While on one hand, a healthy bunch of new thea...
Today, what the theatre scene lacks is ideology. Theatre-makers want to become more escapism-friendly, tailoring scripts and creating devices to woo audiences. While I don’t have a problem with earning money, mindless theatre, which stays afloat with punch lines and hollow drama, bothers me.