27 films and still counting, he claims he still has a long way to go. All set for his next release, Premacha JholJhal, to hit the cinemas on October 25, Marathi superstar Siddharth Jadhav speaks to Soumita Sengupta on the several roles he has portrayed in the film
Tell us about your film, Premacha JholJhal. What is it all about?
There are lots of jhols happening around us that we keep reading and seeing in the media everyday. Premacha JholJhal as the name suggests is about Premka jhol, yaani pyaar ko paane ke liye joh log jhol kartey hai yeh film unn jhols par aadharith hai. Naveen Prabhakar, who is a well-known stand-up comedian plays the character of an architect, Pankaj and is in love with a girl but he doesn’t have the guts to propose to her so he takes the help of Popat Navre (Me), a well-known astrologer. The jhols that Naveen Prabhakar, Vijay Patkar sir and I do, to get our respective love is what the film is all about.
How was your experience working with Naveen Prabhakar and Vijay Patkar?
It was excellent. Naveen was very serious about his work and gave his 100 per cent and Patkar sir who is a veteran in the industry, made all of us comfortable. We never felt that we were working with an artiste who has been in the industry since the last 30 years. It was a great learning experience watching him in front of the camera. Besides being an actor he is also a director but he didn’t interfere with the debutant director. The chemistry that Naveen, Patkar sir and I shared on the screen has to be seen to be believed.
What made you do a film like Premacha JholJhal considering it is from a new production house helmed by a first time director?
I believe in doing good roles. When the director, Manoj Kotian met me with his producers Seema Upadhyay and Sidhant Pilania of Crazy Moi Production and narrated the script, I immediately said yes to them because of my character and their passion for filmmaking. Like the name of their production house they are very creative and crazy and we clicked instantly. Our combined craziness shows in the film. My character in the film has different shades; we have experimented with my looks. Besides the team is young and they were very clear in their vision that they want to make a family entertaining masala film. They have never compromised on the production value and though the director was new he had a clear vision about what he wanted from all of us.
You also play Baba Bhairavnath in the film and your look seems similar to Ramdev Baba. Did you draw inspiration from him?
Yes, I do play Baba Bhairavnath and no I was not inspired by Ramdev Baba or Asaram Bapu. Our writer Hemant Idlabadkar, who has written a lot of super hit films like Aayna Ka Bayna, Huppa Huiya, had clearly sketched the character of Baba Bhairavnath. It is a humorous character, yeh Baba ke naam main Nath hai Ram nahi. I played my role according to the script and we have not made any mockery of any religious gurus or babas. Our film is a situational romantic comedy.
The song Nasha yeh kaisa nasha from the film is hatke compared to your other film songs?
Yes it is, I played Butterfly Man in Time Please, which is still a big hit, then in Huppa Huiya also I had hit songs but the presentation in the Nasha song is very different. You have to see and hear the song to know what am saying. The cinematography is different; the choreography by Vishwas Natkar is good; the song takes you through my character’s journey. Don’t be surprised if you see me dancing on this song at award functions.
Despite being a rom-com, Premacha JholJhal has only two songs?
Yes, it has only two songs, one is Nasha yeh kaisa nasha, that comes in the beginning of the film, introducing my character and the other one is, Dheere dheere haule haule. This is a fantasy song picturised on the three couples, Vijay Patkar and Priya Berde, Naveen Prabhakar and Smita Gondkar, Tejaswi Patil and me. If Nasha is my song then Dheere dheere is clearly Vijay Patkar and Priya Berde’s song. The team was very clear that they didn’t want to add songs for the heck of it. Since it’s a situational comedy they felt that it would break the pace of the film. I think they were right. Music is composed by Amit Raj of Duniyadari fame, lyrics are by Mandar. Nasha is rendered by Adarsh Shinde while Sudesh Bhosale has sung Dheere dheere along with Kirti Killedar and Supriya Joshi.
Is it true that you call your directors and producers to promote the film?
(Laughs) I feel that if am charging a fee for a particular film then my producers should make a profit on their investment in me. Unlike Hindi films where the advertising and publicity budget of a film is bigger than the production budget, Marathi films are not promoted in a big way and if I can help in media promotions then why not. By doing this I am reaching out to my audience. I promote my films not just before but also after the release.
Everyone that has worked with you, be it your co-stars, your film writers, directors and producers, say that you are a power house of energy, how do you manage it day after day?
I am from a theatre background and have done one act plays and believe in positive energy. I have been in the industry since 13 years. I motivate myself, I am here to do good roles whether small or big it doesn’t matter, all that matters to me is giving my 100 per cent to work. All the people that I work with are very positive, and seeing them I get positive and the combine energy of the team shows in our work.
How does it feel to be the superstar of the Marathi film industry?
No, I am not a superstar, I am just an actor. I am a very down-to-earth person who hails from a middle class family and I have not forgotten my roots. My father still calls me twice every day, once in the morning and once in the night to check if I have eaten my meals. Whenever my fans mob my car, I remember my childhood days when I use to run behind cars of Bollywood superstars and tap on their car window just to get their attention. Today my fans do that to me and I try my best to reach out to them because I was one of them and today whatever I am is all because of their love and wishes. However, I still have a long way to go.
Films, television and plays, how do you juggle between all three and yet get time for film promotions?
I believe in commitment. Theatre is my first love. It was where I got my first recognition and I haven’t forgotten that. I always make time for it not just in Mumbai but also in Pune. I did enjoy doing Comedy Circus for many years but am not doing the current season. Right now I am hosting a kids Dance reality show on ETV called MAD, and thoroughly enjoying it. Besides this, I am also shooting for Kalla a film by Kedar Shinde where I play double roles. I am also promoting Premacha JholJhal. When I am not shooting then I am either rehearsing for my plays or promoting my film so it’s not that difficult. When you decide to do good and positive things in life toh time automatically mil hi jaata hain yaar. Mera birthday October 23 ko hai but I am going to be busy promoting my film during the day. I will only get time to spend with my family in the night.
Did you do any jhol for your prem in real life?
Bohat jhol kiya, har love affair main jholjhal hota hai. Pyaar ke jhol main no tol mol only meethey bol. Everyone knows my love story. Yes, I have done jhol to get my love, my wife Trupti. I proposed to her at a railway station. She refused but I didn’t give up and it took a few more years to convince her and now we are happily married and have a two-year-old daughter, Swara. Pyaar main jhol hona chahiye but one shouldn’t hurt anyone physically or emotionally. Jo apney pyaar ko paaney ke liye kare jhol woh Baba ke liye anmol. Jai Baba Bhairavnath!