Woman of Substance

Acting is an integral part of her life



Acting is an integral part of her life. She wrote her first play at an early age of 13. Based in the UK, Dr Anupama Shrotri gives a glimpse into her acting career and life of a breast-cancer surgeon in a foreign land, writes Anjana Parikh

In this modern age, the world is an oyster for women. Making choices may be daunting but if you step back and understand what you really want rather than get caught up in the rat race is the way to success, believes Dr Anupama Shrotri.

   “From my personal experience, I’ve learnt that one shouldn’t be in a hurry to achieve the goal.  You can get on a high speed motorway, or a winding, scenic country road to reach the same destination, albeit a little later. A scenic country road can give you more time to stop and relax en route. There is no point running around to achieve everything in life,” she said.

   Dr Shrotri is a Liverpool-based Breast Cancer and Representative surgeon working with the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK. Recently, she received a Master’s Degree in Reconstructive Breast Surgery. Breast cancer treatment and research is one of her passion.

Despite her busy schedule, she continues to keep her other passion alive--theatre.

Like the operating theatre—Marathi theatre and performing on stage have always been her love.

On Stage

Acting comes to her naturally. Since her college days, Dr Shrotri has been actively involved in theatre. “Acting, writing and directing plays, and music are in my veins. My parents sing well and I was introduced to music at a very early age. I learnt Hindustani classical music for a few years when was at school but gave up when I was in SSC to focus on studies,” said said.

This versatile theatre artist has acted in several plays in the last 10 years with different groups within the UK. One of the Marathi three-act play where she was the main protagonist was ‘Ti Phularani’, was based on the famous play ‘Pygmalion written by George Bernard Shaw which was adapted for the Hollywood film ‘My Fair Lady’ starring Audrey Hepburn. The Marathi adaptation was written by famous Marathi author P.L. Deshpande.

Asked how does she manage time. She replied, “I believe in compartmentalising my life. When I am at work, I give myself completely to my work; I don’t bring my work home. My time out of work is very precious and I use it judiciously. A big chunk of it is spent doing things that I enjoy. Music and theatre rejuvenates and give me the energy. When you do things you love, you don’t get tired. Luckily, my husband and I share the same passion. He loves theatre and plays guitar himself, so we get to spend time with each other and do things that we love.”

“My father was into amateur theatre, and I used to tag along with him for rehearsals ever since I was five-years old. I used to know all the scripts by heart and frequently ended up prompting the actors during rehearsals,” said Dr Shrotri who wrote her first play ‘Hirkanicha Buruj’, when she was 13-years-old. The play was based on a true story of a brave young mother who climbs down a dangerous cliff at night to reach her young child after being locked inside a fort.

That was the beginning of her journey into the world of performing art. Dr Shrotri’s, ‘Agantuk’—a story of a submissive wife who changes into becoming a brave woman after being thrown into the harsh realities of life, will be staged during the European Marathi Sammelan to be held in Amsterdam in April this year. Dr Shrotri is the main protagonist in the play.

Well-known for her multi-tasking skills, Dr Shrotri’s love for performing art doesn’t stop here. She’s also a part of the musical ensemble called Bharatiya Vrund Gaan, an Indian choir group based in the UK.

Apart from keeping her work-life balance, Dr Shrotri along with her husband Dr Milind Shrotri, a laparoscopic and upper GI surgeon, the duo are also active in various charity organisations. They run an organisation called ‘Avishkar Performing Arts’, through which they organise music concerts, plays and film screenings, and the proceedings (profit) are donated to various charity organisations.

Last year, she ran a 10 K race in the Race for Life event for raising money for cancer research.

“We are trustees of two charities in the UK, ‘Hemalkasa Health Foundation’- raising money for Dr. Prakash Amte’s hospital in Hemalkasa and ‘Friends of Quest UK’ supporting an educational charity—QUEST-- working in the tribal areas of Maharashtra,” said Dr Shrotri, who has recently been chosen by the Royal College of Surgeons London for their prestigious ‘Emerging Leaders Programme’, to lead the senior leadership positions within the college.

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