Acting happened rather late to Atul Kulkarni at the age of 30. He says he quit engineering not because he wanted to be an actor but because he didn’t want to be an engineer!
After completing 15 years in the business, he is finally playing a romantic lead in Satish Rajwade’s upcoming Marathi film. We caught up with the Belgaum-born actor only to be impressed by his philosophical take on various topics...
Would you call yourself media-shy?
I’m a private person and I talk only when it’s necessary for a film. Otherwise, I always wonder what I should talk about and also why I should talk about it (laughs).
You have acted in many regional languages. Have you ever faced issues?
I’ve worked in seven languages so far and I can tell you that it’s extremely simple. When you sign up for a project, you don’t think about the language or the dialogue. The script is what matters the most. After I made my debut in a Kannada film and I’ve learned not to worry about the language.
Your thoughts on Marathi cinema...
The way to go about Marathi cinema is you should compare this year’s work to last year’s. It’s improving by leaps and bounds although the budget is usually low. When you compare it to Marathi theatre, Marathi films are yet not the priority of Marathi audience. Besides, the revival — not the rebirth — is hardly seven or eight years old. Today, there are very few people who survive only on Marathi films as they sustain with TV, plays and other stuff.
You’re finally playing a romantic lead in an upcoming film...
Since times are changing, even a 47-year-old actor can look forward to playing such roles. It may not necessarily be the typical song-dance routine but there is always possibility.
Who are the actors who influence you?
Roles inspire me more than the actor as I think there shouldn’t be an idol or a guru in acting. There’s no point in blindly dropping names. I learn from others. Pankaj Kapurji’s performance in Matru… was amazing. It has to be one of the five best roles I’ve seen in recent times.
You’re an activist too, aren’t you?
(Laughs) Not really. There are a few projects I’m part of, like this restoration work we’re doing in Satara. I also regularly write on socio-political issues we are facing in our daily life. Along with acting, these are equally important to me. My profession is not my life. You can’t die the way you’re born, can you?