He was known as “the voice,” the smooth, syrupy voice in theatres selling toothpaste as you sat beside the pretty young thing wondering if the slight grazing of our skins would turn into a holding of hands at the office movie outing. (Ah, those were the daze when sitting in a movie holding hands was considered the bold thing to do in prudish Bombay!) He was the voice the PYT was in love with, not you, stupid. But the images on screen and the voice did have a goose-pimple giving effect, nevertheless, even to one in a perpetual state of denial of girlish attention.
Pratap “the voice” Sharma was the suave actor in documentaries, the writer of fiction, in addition to being the voicethrob of the millions in the age when this writer was graduating from dreaming of writing to actually writing. It was touching to see Pratap Sharma with oxygen cylinder in tow at the release of a Sahitya Academy publication featuring a collection of plays written by himself, Vikram Kapadia, Ramu Ramanathan, etc. Anju Makhija, poet, moderated the session. Also present in the audience was Dolly Thakore.
Pratap Sharma is undergoing treatment for some ailment, ergo he has to take the cylinder along with him. I hope it is nothing serious. But he still looks strikingly handsome and made a valiant effort at reading his play to the accompaniment of a Hindustani vocalist and recorded music. He actually sang a ditty in the play in his inimitable husky tenor voice. I guess in his station in life he can take chances and care two hoots what people say. Ahem!
Also read was Vikram Kapadia’s play Equal which was a hilarious take on a building society’s board meeting descent into the worst of all name-calling and community stereotyping. The discussion was the death of a christian member of the society, and somebody calls him, “that converter,” meaning religious converter, meaning that all christians are religious conversion fanatics. God, almighty, please forgive that character’s tresspass, as I have forgiven his/her’s. Is that how people see Christians? As religious conversion fanatics? Well, I have never tried to proselytize anyone in my four decades and more on this earth. Thanks Vikram for pointing this out.
(Sorry, Blogger just wouldn’t upload the photo, so another time!)