Sharad Kelkar has always been a recognisable face in the television industry and now he is also an integral part of regional as well as Hindi films such as Lai Bhaari, Ram Leela, Rocky Handsome and Hero. We spoke to the actor about his experience of moving from TV to films:
On acting career
I came to Mumbai in 2004 to become an actor. I was in my late 20s and had to shoulder the responsibility of running my house. I was not a trained actor and I learnt everything on the sets and in front of the camera.
Television was at its peak back then and I started with small roles and bagged Saat Phere, which was a turning point in my career. The show did very well and I was bombarded with offers. I was also doingSinndoor Tere Naam Ka, which also did well. There were many offers but unfortunately they didn’t offer out-of-the-box roles. I wanted to play different characters and thankfully I was offered Kuch Toh Log Kahenge, which was a more silent and mature role, and Bairi Piya,where I played the lead but it was a negative role. Then Agent Raghavcame along, which was an altogether a different role of a detective. I have always tried to do various roles so that I don’t get bored.
My first film was Uttarayan in Marathi, before my television career took off and I had a very small role in it. My first Hindi film was 1920: Evil Returns with Vikram Bhatt, which made people take notice of me once again. People knew me as a television actor but they never thought of me as a film actor. Simultaneously, I was shooting for Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela, and then Hero, Lai Bhaari, Rocky Handsome and many more films kept coming my way.
I always follow the director. At the same time, I try to look at what I can add to the character I am playing. Nishi (Nishikant Kamat, director) in Lai Bhaari gave me a brief of what he wanted and then I added body language and voice by modifying them in my unique way.
Change of perception
There was a long gap when TV actors were stuck in television and Bollywood stars were only doing films. Then, everyone realised the importance of television and many film celebrities are now doing television. It was then that the film industry realised the potential of a TV actor, who was working 15 hours a day, every day, and still giving it his best shot. Also, TV actors were commercially affordable. That’s when the amalgamation started. Another problem was that TV actors had their dates blocked for shows, so film makers usually wouldn’t sign them because of date clashes. But now with season shows coming in, like I did Agent Raghav – Crime Branch, it was a six-month shoot. Now everyone can juggle their dates and that’s the reason you see a lot of TV actors making their debut in films.
I have done Marathi films but when I was offered Sardaar Gabbar Singh, I was very happy as it was a different language and I was playing a negative lead with different body language. Working in various languages has also helped me grow as an actor as you get to work with new people.
In Hindi cinema, it was Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela that changed my career as I received a lot of acclaim once it released. And in the regional space, it was Lai Bhaari that opened many more doors for me. Now I am doing Marathi films Rakshas, Sangharsh Yatra and a few more that are in the pipeline. In Hindi, I recently finished Irada with Naseeruddin Shah and Arshad Warsi.