Kabir Bedi, the imposing, baritone voice of Indian cinema and stage, almost tempered the tone of the newly introduced 'chai and chat' session at the ongoing 43rd International Film Festival of India (IFFI) with a frank admission that acting in Indian theatre does not "pay my bills".
It was almost as if long known friends were pouring out their cup of woes and anxieties, over a cup of tea.
The actor pointed to an almost symbiotic relationship between theatre, television and films and said that every genre was as essential as the other, in the life of an actor.
"Theatre is done largely for the love of the craft. Television makes you famous. And films immortalize you. That's the relationship between the three," Bedi said at the session titled "Cinema and Theatre parallel or opposing genres".
"I am essentially someone who comes from the theatre. I love the theatre. Unfortunately, theatre doesn't pay the bills. Only in theatre abroad, I get a wage," Bedi said, adding that it was his love for the medium of theatre which forced him to turn back and dabble in it.
"Theatre has always been a fountainhead for ideas, both for cinema and television," he said.
"Each technology has its own uniqueness and its own effect. Life of Pi is an example. It is a classic example of pure cinema. One cannot do in theatre or TV what Ang Lee did in Life of Pi. Television's greatest ticket is immediacy, and long-running stories. There can be no duplication of either," Bedi said, giving his due to non-theatre mediums of performance.
Celebrated character actor and the darling of the multiplex audiences, Vinay Pathak said that independent filmmakers in India have a long way to go.
"Making a film is not enough. What needs to be done is spreading the film," Pathak said.
Theatre actor Dhritiman Chatterjee said that the actor's greatest satisfaction is on stage and establishing a connect with the live audience in the first few minutes.
"As an actor, your greatest satisfaction is on stage. That contact with the audience. Knowing (that) in the first five minutes whether you are making a connection with the audience or not, whether its working or not. That electrifying feeling you don't get in cinema," said Chatterjee, who has worked with some of the great filmmakers in Bengali cinema, namely Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen and Aparna Sen.