Getting candid with gifted Marathi actor SWWAPNIL JOSHI
For years, SWWAPNIL JOSHI has been winning audiences over with his talent. Citadel interviews the gifted Marathi actor regarding his upcoming films and recently concluded television show on interviewing friends from the Marathi industry.
If you ask any film lover about quality films in the country, the chances of them talking about the Marathi film industry are quite high. A mixed bag of quality sensitive, along with commercially viable films is being created here. The audience is lapping up such films like anything and are greedy for more. Good actors too are finding an opportunity to showcase their talent. Swwapnil Joshi is a known name in the entertainment industry, whether Marathi or Hindi. His name has become synonymous with good work. Starting his career as a child actor, he has evolved into an artiste who has tried to break his romantic actor mould time and again. Of course, Swwapnil’s fan following can be called massive. In his TV appearances in shows like Comedy Circus, Kon Hoeel Marathi Karodpati or Fu Bai Fu or serials like Eka Lagnachi Dusri Goshta, Swwapnil gives certain credibility to the shows. Of course, his movies like Mumbai-Pune-Mumbai (Part 1 & 2), Duniyadaari, Mangalshtaka Once More, Pyaar Wali Love Story, Mitwaa, Tu Hi Re, Laal Ishq and Fugaay bring out his nuanced talent as well. Every time Swwapnil is out with something new, it is celebration time for his fans. His recent television
avataar is as a host of the popular show No. 1 Yaari with Swwapnil on Colours. Here, he was seen interviewing celebs from the industry, who are also friends, and their bond shone through.
His recent talk show No. 1 Yaari with Swwapnil has become a hit amongst viewers. It looks interesting and each episode brings its own charm. Congratulations are a must for choosing to be the host of such an offbeat show. Swwapnil graciously accepts the compliments and feels the congratulations are not just well deserved, but also overdue. “We wanted to do a show like this for the longest time. In Marathi, shows are being made on couples, siblings, or even on relations. But a show purely on two friends was never made. So when Sachin sir (Sachin Pilgaonkar) made me hear the show’s concept, I felt like it’s such a rare opportunity that this is a show completely based on friends and friendship. And I found it quite fun to tap this zone. I am basically a very friend-zoned person. So to tap this zone on TV was amazing.” There was one more thing that made Swwapnil select this show. “I have had a rather long career. But I never had a show with my name in the title. I think for any actor it is a great high that you have a show with your name. So it is No. 1 Yaari with Swwapnil. I think it is a self pat on the back and it’s a great feeling or high for an actor to have his hoardings and promos made. And then Sachinji was creatively producing and directing the show. So someone of his calibre says to do the show, I know how much homework has gone into it. I also know how much readiness he has shown for the show. And the show is on a reputed channel like Colours Marathi. So everything came together rather nicely. That is why I readily agreed to it. It’s a great feeling and we are half way through the season. By the time this interview is printed, it might even be over. But I had the most fun time hosting this show in my entire career.” Being a celebrity means knowing more than half of the industry on good terms. He knows most of the people who come on the show. The feeling must be something else to see these friends talk about their friendships. Swwapnil agrees and adds, “Basically, the show’s concept is to call my friends on this show. So it is predominantly my friends from the fraternity who will come. So I know most of the people who come. And it’s very different because it’s a very big responsibility to make them feel comfortable, yet intrude into their
private spaces on TV. I think it’s a tough task, but I want to give a big thank you for my friends for coming, as they made it pretty simple and easy for me. It was a joy ride. If you see the episodes, you will know that the things that happen behind closed doors, we have actually been trying to bring forth on the show, and it’s a lot of fun.” The fact that the show gained popularity gives the truth that the makers have hit the right spot.
Swwapnil and romance is synonymous in the industry. In fact, many term him as the Shah Rukh Khan of the Marathi industry due to his romantic on-screen persona. Any other person in his position would be bothered by this tag of a romantic hero, though Swwapnil has tried to do as many different roles as possible in recent times. He accepts the romantic hero tag and says it does not bother him. “I think images are made by audiences. No hero creates a particular image for himself. It is in the mind of the people, which is their perception about you. And if people like me in romantic roles, I feel proud about it and there is nothing to feel ashamed about. I absolutely don’t get bothered by it, and I take it with a lot of pride. There is a spring in my step when anyone calls me a romantic hero. Yes, I have attempted different kinds of roles, because the actor in me wants to explore something that I have not explored before.” That is why you have seen him attempt different subjects in films like Bhikari, Welcome Zindagi, Govinda, Fugay and the recently finished Ranangan. “In all these films, I explore different emotions as an actor, which are built into me, but are not yet exposed to cinema,” he clarifies. The method of choosing roles is different for different people. For Swwapnil, a lot of things go into the selection of any role. “Predominantly - what is the concept? What is the script and content? After that, who is making the team? How is the team? How are the producer, director and technicians? After that, who are my co-actors? After that, what is my role? I think this is because this is teamwork. A lot of people come together to make this film. The film is not made by just the hero or heroine. Around 100-200 people work together for a year and then the film is made. So who are these people? How passionately are they associated with this film? Or the writers who have written the film. How passionately have they written the film? I want to know all this, because I think in every kind of cinema and more so in Marathi cinema, content is the king, and the first thing I look for is content,” explains Swwapnil passionately. Fair enough. After all, an actor is as good as his last release.
IN THE ROLE
Swwapnil agrees to the account that he is more selective about his roles. Of course, he was selective earlier too, but now he is more established. He replies, “I do two to three films in a year, which is a pretty rare. I mean, people don’t realise it. But I have done only 15 odd films in my entire career. People think I have been working for a long time and have done a lot of films. But I have done only 14-15 films in Marathi, and Ranangan will be my 16th film. So I have done less work. How much more can I be selective? But I am selective about my roles. I am like that. I like to work less and do better.” Being t ypecast means at times filmmakers not approaching an actor for different roles. Swwapnil being the actor that he is, wants different roles to come to him. “I would love to do negative roles and I think filmmakers are afraid of coming to me with roles that are out of the box. But I think Ranangan is going to change that. I really hope no filmmaker has to think before approaching me with a role. They should be able to come to me with any kind of role and think I will be able to do it justice. The more out of the box, the better,” he says, the actor in him urging for more. Those who have witnessed Swwapnil’s work also know of his great comic timing. But we aren’t we seeing more of it. Swwapnil talks about his muchappreciated film Fugay, which was released last year, “I would love to do a comic film and a lot of comedy. Again, if something interesting comes my way, it will be interesting to do it. But I would love to do something funny and comic. Let’s hope for the best.”
No one is as candid about life and career as Swwapnil. He is upbeat about everything, including his work. Ask him about looking back at his career and describe it, he has just one line to say – it has just started. “I have worked for 30 odd years. But it is just the beginning
and I have a long way to go. If there is one word with which I can describe my career, I think it’s been very enriching,” he says candidly. An actor venturing into production is not a new phenomenon. Swwapnil too is slowly getting into this part of his profession. “In fact, Fugay was produced by us. There is a company called GSEAMS and I am a partner in it. It produces films and Fugay was a coproduction. Ranangan is a co-production. We also co-produced a film called Tula Kalnar Nahi. And there are two more films in the pipeline, which we are coproducing again. And there is a show on Star Pravah – Nakalat Saare Ghadaley, which is apparently the No. 1 show on that channel. We are producing that show. Production is on the cards and very much in the process,” he says before adding that in fact, he wants to keep producing more TV serials and films. It’s an industry where insecurity is part and parcel of your lifestyle. But every time you see or meet Swwapnil, his smiling face and upbeat attitude puts a smile on your face. Ask him how he stays so positive in an otherwise insecure industry, and pat comes the reply, “I think this industry is like a mirror. So if you are positive, the industry gives you a positive response. If you are negative, the industry gives you a negative response. I am not saying that everyone who gets a negative response is a negative person. But this is what is working for me. Positivity works for me. It keeps me going. It is not that I am not afraid or scared or I do not lose or fail. It is just that I have developed over the years the ability or the capacity or the strength to get up and run again. So yes, that is what keeps me alive and going. Inshallah that is what will keep me going.”
MORE TO COME
Swwapnil’s fans look forward to his new projects. He has a lot to say about his upcoming projects. “Three films are releasing this year. The first to come is Ranangan on May 11. For the first time, I am playing a grey-shaded or negative character, and I hope people like it, because right now the look is out and people love the look. I am super excited and nervous. It is almost like a debut again in a negative role, because I have never done work like this before, and that is a great thing for me as an actor. And I am hoping the audience really likes it.” His second upcoming film would be the much looked forward to Mumbai-PuneMumbai 3, and it is a big deal for him. “For the first time, a third part of a Marathi film will appear on the big screen. And I am extremely happy and proud that it is my film. So it will be the first of its kind and yes, it will take the legacy of MumbaiPune-Mumbai franchisee ahead. Last but not the least; the year will end with a film called Mi Pan Sachin. Again it’s a film very close to my heart. Shreyas Jadhav, who is basically a rapper, is the debut director of the film. And I think he has done a splendid job. I think he has written the film also. It is a film based on emotions with the backdrop of cricket. Now whether it is a Sachin biopic or not, or it revolves around him and he is a part of the film, you have to wait for the film to watch for the answers. Again it’s a film very close to my heart. I have done a lot of hard work for the film. I have lost almost 12 kilos and tried to learn a decent amount of professional cricket for the role. I hope the audience sees a different me, and sees a character more than they see me in the film.” It’s actors like Swwapnil Joshi who are carrying the torch of good content forward in both films and television. Seeing more his work is something most viewers are eagerly waiting for.