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Meaty Role

From bad guys to strong women to characters with several shades of grey, there are some actors who transcend the characters they are given. The star that stole some limelight from the lead actor in his film last week, Sharad Kelkar (Dhauli) in Bhoomi, talks to Bhakti Mehta about the depth of his role


The first thing they did was narrate the whole plot to me. So, as an actor, I looked for things like how important is this character to the film, what are his characteristics and what can I bring to the table. There was a lot of meat in the role. He (Dhauli) is the one who creates a ruckus in the story line. I was told specifically that this guy was like a dabangg of that area. He has power and money which he uses for his own fun. I found that very interesting.


When I got the narration, I thought, yes, it is dark but there is a lot to do, a lot to play in this role. The way he says his lines, the attitude he has is very rural. It’s the first time I was playing a gaonwala who doesn’t speak English, is not educated and has his own rules. It had interesting shades to it.


The first challenge is that you have to shed all your inhibitions. There is nothing like I can just be a little bad. You are 100 per cent bad. The subject itself was a huge challenge. So, during the 12 hours I was shooting every day, I set aside the fact that I was the father of a little girl. I had to work on it. On the set, I was not a father, I was just a bad guy.

Another thing was the dialect. I am Maharashtrian and the language of Dhauli in the film was Rajasthani mixed with Haryanvi. I did my homework and called friends from that region. The dialogue is simple but to make it strong, you need to deliver your lines properly. Like my line in the film, ‘Save the water… Save the daughter’… it was not the words as much as how it was said. This language has its own swag. People need to hate me when I am saying simple lines in nasty tones. I had to twist it in a way that makes the audience cringe.


He’s a very sorted guy, yaar. He’s an art director, so he doesn’t waste any time on the set. He knows what frame he wants. And it helps that he imagines everything before he executes it. He is a very soft and polished guy but a no-nonsense guy as well. As a director, he gives you the liberty to do whatever you want to do.


Both of them are sweethearts. Aditi (Rao Hydari) is such a no-fuss actor. She will wear whatever you give her, and her performance is so good that she can produce tears in one single take. She is very petite but her face says a lot. With Baba (Sanjay Dutt), he is an absolute sweetheart. He takes you in as your younger brother and teaches you, guides you. When I was at home, he would message to catch up and when I was travelling, he would wish me a safe flight. Even though he is so senior, he is very humble.


I won’t deny that the movie has got mixed reviews. A lot of people think the film is not up to the mark. Nobody is perfect here. We tried to make a good film and now it’s up to viewers. Also, Navratri is underway and we were apprehensive of the film’s performance. There is Navratri in Gujarat and Durga Puja in West Bengal, and these are two important movie-watching markets. A lot of revenue comes in from these two states. As far as the response to my acting goes, touch wood, people have been appreciating it. They have been calling me and telling me that they liked my performance.


After this, there is a Marathi film called Rakshas, with Sai Tamhankar which will release in December or January. Then there is a small but interesting film called Darban. I am also working on an action Marathi flick. I am on a small break and will get back to it after working on myself a little.

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