“I Am Competing With No One But Myself” SHOOTS STRAIGHT
Akin to his characters, he took on diverse conversations, which gave us an insight into his life, lms and more... Speaking of thoughts, Subodh is fantastically crisp and clear in his opinions. One thing we happened to distinctly notice several times about the star through our confab, is that his childhood is an important part of where he is today and has made a humungous impact on his life and journey. Despite having a hectic schedule, Subodh took out the time to talk to us, turning out to be pleasantly candid chat, which charmed us no less...
To start with, tell us about your journey this far and your rst tryst with acting.
As a kid, I was more of a sportsperson than an actor. However, I used to act in school plays at annual gatherings and so on, but my passion for theatre or acting was limited back then. While I was in Grade 7, my father enrolled me into a theatre workshop, which introduced me to various aspects, such as lighting, music, backstage, costumes, make-up, etc, in addition to acting and direction. Although I had developed an interest in theatre, I had inhibitions which had kept me away from acting. As for my rst tryst with acting, I performed in a play for a college competition. The play revolved around Aurangzeb and his daughter, which boosted my confidence and made me believe that I could act with a little more effort and grasping power. Post that, I was part of Purushottum Karandak, one of the prestigious oneact play competitions, wherein I learnt the nuances of theatre acting and other allied activities. Moving on, my passion for acting grew to a great extent, so much so that I participated in all plays which my college organised back then. After my graduation, I secured a job in a company, but couldn’t continue for long as acting had become my passion and I couldn’t survive without it.
Getting entry into lms and TV serials is not an easy job. In such circumstances, how did you manage to make a mark for yourself?
Before stepping into the industry, I was aware of the fact that I had a daunting task ahead of me. Nevertheless, I was very condent and passionate enough to pursue my goal. I had to quit my job in order to pursue acting, but it didn’t bother me at all, because I was chasing my dream. After auditioning for Geet Ramayan, the popular mythological TV serial that was aired in 2001, I was selected to play the role of Lord Ram that was
applauded by one and all and gave me recognition as an actor.
From Balgandharva to Tilak, you have played an array of characters immaculately. How do you effortlessly switch from one character to other?
Whenever I get a new character to play, I always connect myself to my childhood days. As kids, we all played character games, for example, like police v/s robbers. We hardly knew then what the character of a robber or a police is really like, yet we would imagine it and pretend to be them. I look at acting the same way. I turn into a kid. As for my characters of Tilak and Balgandharva, I told myself and made myself feel that I am Lokmanya Tilak and Balgandharva. As a result, I often ended up behaving like my characters (laughs). For instance, when I was playing Lokmanya Tilak, I was emulating his walking style, with the same aplomb, which had scared the unit people a little from talking to me. I got into the skin of the characters, which is why I could play it effortlessly.
How was your experience sharing the screen space with your son, Kanha in Agadbam 2 that is slated to release this year?
It was a great experience indeed! I was extremely happy about the fact that he could fend for himself while we were shooting outside the precincts of Mumbai. This experience has particularly taught him to be independent, which many of us wouldn’t get a chance of at such a tender age. Besides, we had fun on the sets of Agadbam 2 and enjoyed the shooting process thoroughly.
Speaking of your second son, Malhar, who portrayed the child character in Fugay, how do you see his acting skills?
It is too early to comment on his acting prowess, however, he was unusually calm and composed while facing the camera, which even today I nd a major challenge. Malhar and Kanha are kids, so it won’t be right on my part to comment on their careers, especially when I don’t even know if they want to step into my shoes. I would rather give them freedom to select a career of their choice.
As for your trajectory, how do you see yourself as an actor?
Initially, when I started out in the industry, I was very passionate as an actor and still I am. Back then, I had to prove myself as an actor, but lms like Balgandharva, Tilak, Katyar Kaljat
Ghusali, to name some, have added immensely to my popularity. Also, I am working towards playing a variety of characters (not lms but characters) that are distinct from one another. I feel that playing monotonous roles are no fun. Therefore, I analyse each of my movies and compare them with the previous ones. Thankfully, I am having the greatest time at this stage of my career right now, because I am competing with no one but myself. All in all, I am simply having a wonderful time doing my job as an actor, and that is the most beautiful thing in my life. Having played diverse characters in lms, is there any character that
you have not played yet and would like to portray it on the big screen?
There are so many characters that I desire to play, such as a warrior, a maa, a politician, etc. The list is endless. My wish is soon going to be fullled in an upcoming mythological lm, wherein I am playing a warrior and a passionate lover, besides directing it.
Talking about your directorial debut, Katyar Kaljat Ghusali, it was a blockbuster hit which managed to draw a lot of attention. Since you are an actor yourself, how much did it help you in directing the lm?
It’s now been more than a decade that I am a part of the industry. As a result, I have seen many directors working on numerous subjects, be it lms, serials or plays. Being an actor myself, it helped me to pay attention on the sets of Katyar Kaljat Ghusali to the minutest details, which would have otherwise gone unnoticed. I knew exactly what content each scene needed; its emotional quotient and what I needed to extract out of it. Besides, I would attribute the success of Katyar Kaljat Ghusali to the entire team, who was extremely talented and knew their job well. It was an experience unlike any other! The lm also helped me understand cinema from every aspect.
Given that you are now only doing lms, do you miss television?
How can I not miss it, especially when I started my career with television serials? A big thank you to all the teleserials which have given me incredible characters to render. It has helped me reach people faster than theatre or lms. Television is such a medium that it nds its own way into the people’s house. I would love to work in television again, but due to time constraints I am unable to pursue it. Nonetheless, I am going to announce my comeback soon.
From theatre, to television, to movies, you have treaded a long path. Is there any point in your career where you would like to go back and do something differently?
I began to act because I am passionate about it. If I ever happen to feel in the future that I am bored of acting, I will quit it and take up something else that makes me happy. I have a keen interest in history, so I
might pick a career in that, research on it or go to different places in order to study the subject.
According to you, what are the different challenges the acting profession has to deal with?
In the past, people used to often watch plays to entertain themselves. With the arrival of lms and television serials, the scenario has changed to a large extent. Today, it has changed even more with the advent of web-series, YouTube, Netix, you name it. As a result, it has become difcult for an actor to establish himself and survive in such trying times. Also, technology has undergone tremendous change, so one has to keep doing new and different things so as to standout from the rest. As for the limelight, the time span has reduced considerably. Consequently, actors have to make the most of the opportunity they have in hand to emerge as winners.
If there’s one thing you could change about the industry, what would that be?
I would definitely increase the budget of Marathi films, because budget defines your vision. We
have gotten into the habit where a small budget makes us think small too. We need to dream big. As for the scenario today, directors and producers are bound by the budget of the film. Hence, I would like to convey a message to all my fellow filmmakers that do not limit your dreams because of budget constraints.
How do you see the change that has taken place over the years in the Marathi lm industry?
The atmosphere in the Marathi industry is changing positively, which is a good sign. Most importantly, one can now experiment in Marathi cinema, which has a range of genres. Why else do you think Bollywood personalities like John Abraham, Govind Nihalani, etc, want to venture into Marathi films? Because, t hey think Marathi cinema has the potential to produce good content. Plus, Marathi lms are doing well critically and commercially. National Award winning lms such as, Shwaas, Deool, Kaasav, to name some, have made us proud and shown that nothing can beat talent. Commercially, Marathi lms have fared well, so much so that it has touched the magic gure of 100 crores. What’s more, we are also witnessing lots of non-Maharashtrians showing keen interest in watching Marathi movies, which is clearly an indication of huge success.
Lastly, tell us about your fond memories of Pune.
Me pakka Punekar aahe (I am a typical Punekar)! (Here his immense pride of hailing from the city is unmistakable.) During my childhood days, I used to walk to school every day and upon returning in the evening, I used to do mallakhamb or swimming. I used to play with my friends in our courtyard for hours together. I think my childhood has made my life for what it is today. My school, my parents, friends and the people around me have had a great influence on my life. They helped me choose t he right path, where I can always be inspired to do something new.