Shreyas Talpade’s first role was that of Sita for a school play on Ramayana. The next year he played Draupadi in the school version of the Mahabharat. This was perhaps the first sign of how versatile Shreyas Talpade would be in later years. From school plays to street plays to monologues and mimes – Shreyas wanted to learn and be a part of everything. "From 1990 till 2005 I did close to 2500 shows of different productions on the professional stage. Hindi, Marathi, English, Urdu – such was my love for the stage that I didn't want to miss a single chance to be under the arc lights. Whatever I am today is because of theatre, it grooms you and betters your craft like no other medium. Whatever little appreciation I get in my films today is all because of the theatre," reminisces Talpade.
From theatre, the actor made the switch to television, and later films. But in the midst of all his other work commitments, Shreyas was inspired to return to the stage – with Zee Theatre's teleplay 'Typecaste'. Also starring, Atul Mathur, Aaditi Pohankar and Utkarsh Mazumdar.
“I personally love the format of a teleplay and that's the reason why I did 'Typecaste'. I think teleplay is a great experiment where we get rid of the proverbial 'fourth wall'. It almost was like shooting for a film in an enclosed studio. It was quite challenging but I think these formats need to be explored a lot more. I am glad that ‘Typecaste’ is being watched on so many platforms and being appreciated.”
Typecaste is an adaptation of a Marathi play called ‘Pahije Jatiche‘ by the famous playwright Vijay Tendulkar. The play is set in the seventies when the caste system was not just prevalent but rigidly enforced in India. However, the play shows how the context of the story is relevant in present-day India as well. Shreyas plays the role of Mahipat Babruvahan who becomes the first from his caste and village to complete his Master's degree. Mahipat has a dream of becoming a professor in a particular college and the play showcases all he does to achieve his dream including managing his love interest.
"The script is layered and entertaining,” says Shreyas who is known for his comic timing. It almost seems like the role was written for Shreyas. The play is packed with little nuances which make Shreyas shine – the over-sized blazer that he wears to ensure people take him seriously to a mini solo dance in front of a yet-to-be pressed mound of clothes – its vintage Shreyas Talpade.
“Typecaste is entertainment with a strong social message and that is the voice of this play. I have always believed you can say a lot with humour and somehow for me, it hits home harder," says Shreyas.