Vipul Singh is a ‘Nomad Nukkad’ Actor, Theatre Artist, TEDx Speaker and Scriptwriter. He has covered a journey of 2700 km on foot in three years and has performed 714 Solo street plays so far.
Vipul Singh started his journey with theatre, which he recalls, was not in anyway easy to begin with.
For the first three months, he was not even assigned a single dialogue. But he says that those three months were enough to make him understand the unsaid hierarchy that existed in the world of theatre. However, there was an upside to this as well, as this prompted him to explore other avenues - soon he was experimenting with short films, street plays and associating himself with NGOs.
Finally, he was successful in carving out a niche for himself - ‘Solo Street Plays’. With this innovative approach, he was able to channelise his talent into centering the theme of his plays on social issues, including sex education, menstruation, and many more.
He has performed solo plays in almost all North-Western and Western states of India, focusing on remote and rural areas, raising awareness. Now he wishes to continue his journey towards North-Eastern India and aims to achieve his target of Twenty thousand plays which he believes will help him change the lives of at least twenty individuals.
Not being able to walk properly as a child, Vipul took it upon himself to undertake a “Padyatra”. He travelled from Bhopal to Jammu traversing a distance of 2700 km, addressing women’s issues and performing throughout his journey.
He made it a point to hear local anecdotes, songs and sayings (kahawat) and incorporate them into his plays. His plays, thus, tell the unheard story of various remote hinterlands of India, speak volumes of the rich cultural heritage of otherwise neglected regions thereby showcasing the real essence of India.
Vipul holds the cause of women’s issues, close to his heart. He remembers during one of his journeys, while he was performing in Ohani village, he got to know of a fourteen year old girl who was about to be married off. While he was performing street plays on such issues, he was presented with an opportunity to actually intervene and try to make a difference. Through his Solo Act and by convincing the village headmen that child marriage is a social evil, the wedding was successfully stalled.
Similarly, Vipul collaborated with UNICEF on women’s rights and managed to perform in over 35 slum areas in and around Bhopal addressing the said cause. He believes in active participation and engagement and for him the best way to achieve this is to start from the very ground level.
Whether it was facing early-age muteness, or not being able to relate to studies, Vipul says that these experiences have only made him more determined. For him, these emotional challenges were the biggest hindrances he had to face. But as they say, what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. Vipul, now, is on the verge of completing his first Thousand Solo Plays.
The Next Route
Vipul says that “Being the first to start the practice of Solo Street Plays, I now want to broaden my reach and replicate the same concept in other places as well”.
He wants to create a team specifically for this purpose and plans to continue performing similar plays and conduct workshops while highlighting socially pertinent issues.
He doesn’t want to market himself as a product, instead, he wants to be seen as a symbol of change, however small. Furthering his efforts in working on gender issues and women empowerment, he plans to give his next TEDtalk on girls’ education.
The ‘High Way’
Vipul says "You should try to predict all the potential fallouts and be prepared to face them while charting your path”. He adds that this will make the journey more enriching and help value the outcomes of hard work better.
Recalling his father's words - “Jo apni khud ki aukat janta hai., woh aagey jata hai!”; he stresses on the habit of analysing one's own strengths and weaknesses. He stresses the importance of thorough research before taking the jump.
Vipul recalls that he did not have any legacy or an educational background to fall back upon. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. He says that too many backup options tend to confuse people. Hence, he recommends one to be focused and prepared and have well-thought short-term goals first; “You need to learn what you can do with what you have. Zyada aagey ka mat socho, nahi toh dar jaoge.”