Khwahishon ko jeb mein rakh kar nikla kijiye janaab, Kharcha bahut hota hai manzilon ko paaney mein.– Piyush Mishra

Over the years, we have all become familiar with popular Bollywood films like 3 Idiots, Chak De India, Rock On, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, and more. The common theme across these movies is the relentless pursuit of passion, overcoming countless adversities to realize a dream. While it’s always inspiring to witness the protagonists fulfill their dreams, the pursuit of passion can also be individually contained. For most working professionals, our passions can simply be a source of comfort, a way to reconnect with our roots and get in touch with ourselves. Our Passion and Beyond edition this week features Pawan Gaykar, a Senior SEO and SMM at Torry Harris, whose passion for theater tells a similar story.

Pawan’s early encounter with theater` was as a child when he watched his parents perform on stage. “Our village has a tradition of conducting plays to celebrate our local deities. Both my parents used to participate. So that is where I got my interest in theater – from watching them perform.”, Pawan recalls. Hooked from a young age, Pawan was fascinated by theater - the lights, the performance, the stage and most of all, the storytelling. His first time performing on stage was in school where he was selected for the lead role in a play based on the adverse effects of mobile phones – Pawan's performance was met with enthusiastic applause and the play was appreciated by all. This was a defining moment for Pawan which sparked his passion for theater.

However, with time Pawan’s avenues for practicing theater gradually reduced as the focus on his career took center stage. “As time progressed, I began working. In the early years of my career, I was less engaged with theatre until I took up a role in Bengaluru with Torry Harris,” says Pawan.

Within a few months of working at Torry Harris, Pawan was contacted for a monologue competition in Bengaluru. “I had a gut feeling that I should, you know, give it a try and see if I still had the confidence to perform,” he says. “I just wanted to be part of the competition.” He enrolled fairly late for the competition, wrote his own script for the performance, and even though he didn’t win, this opportunity reignited his passion for theater. Subsequently, Pawan enrolled for a theater workshop and found a mentor in his theater director, Ashish Rana (fondly called ‘Bawa’ in the Bangalore theatre circuit). “Bawa gave me a really good push and the confidence to get back on the stage and perform – and this time professionally”, he said with a hint of reverence.

A lot of Pawan’s plays like Court Martial, Can't Pay? Won't Pay, Gagan Damama Bajyo and Woh Ab Bhi Pukarta Hai address social issues around inflation, caste-based discrimination, wealth disparity, and more. Regarding his choice of plays, Pawan says, “The storytelling form of theater is a powerful medium to draw people’s attention to social themes and inspire change.” “Dedicating long hours at rehearsals and getting in the skin of the character - a lot goes into preparing for a play. But when the audience resonates with the emotions that we portray on stage – it is all worth it.”

Cut to November 2023, and Pawan has performed in several successful plays and found his footing in the theater circuit. Recently, he also starred in an episode of Agni Sakshi, a popular Hindi drama aired on Colors TV India. About his experience, Pawan said, “Performing for theater and on camera is very different. It was nice to be exposed to both, but I still prefer the theater.” And managing all this while working a full-time job is not easy. Most of his peers in ‘TheatreNama’, a theater group,

work full-time jobs, and rehearsals are scheduled to accommodate everyone’s jobs. “The positive work culture at Torry Harris allows me to balance my work and personal pursuits.” says Pawan.

“Theater has always been very personal to me.”, says Pawan. Even though he had been away from theater for almost a decade, Pawan didn’t hesitate when presented with the opportunity to learn and perform theater professionally. In his own words, “It's never too late - if you get that opportunity to pursue your passion, grab it with both hands. Always follow your gut.”

Today, Pawan frequently performs on prestigious stages like the Rang Shankara (also known as the Prithvi Theatre of Bangalore), Jagriti theatre, Vyoma Art Space and more recently has performed at IIM Bangalore. Reflecting on his success and current pursuits Pawan emphasizes the positive work culture of Torry Harris and credits the role of his manager and team in being extremely supportive of his interests. He says, “My manager and teammates are the invisible pillars that have continuously supported me in the pursuit of my passion. Their presence lends a quiet strength and allows me to excel in the theater of work and the work of theater.”

At Torry Harris, we are extremely proud to witness Pawan’s growth both professionally and on stage.