For an actor there is no school as such; no particular format; just the experience. Singers can do riyaaz, painters can churn out a few landscapes. I feel the need to do some workshops related to theatre. This keeps me tuned.

My greatest inspiration in theatre is Pandit Satyadev Dubeyji. I started working with him in the early 90s and it was a learning experience every single day. This has been the foundation of my actor self, my career and by personality too. How I miss Dubeyji every single day! I owe him all that I have earned, be it my awards, my life style and every single penny in my bank account.

Dubeyji taught me that the scale for beauty is not merely how 'fair' your complexion is, or the 'tone' of your voice... they are the elements that you are born with and something you have to live with for life... the only thing one can do as an actor, is to improve one’s acting skills and keep on working. This has been a profound lesson for me.


The wonderful thing about meeting Dubeyji was that he rarely spent time on 'gossips' or chitchats... he got directly to the point and shared with me what he liked or disliked about my performance.

This is the first professional English production I have worked in. With Dubeyji, it is not just the immediate role that I am preparing for. It is a workshop in progress. By the end of it, the experience is like a fixed deposit in my life.

Working with a stalwart like Satyadev Dubeyji, who has written, directed and acted in 'An Actor Dies, But...' was an enriching experience. Adapted from a Croatian play, it is an intrigued look at a relationship that has been set to poetry and prose ever since man realized that expression set him apart from the animals. Dubeyji played an amateur director trying to convince a star (me) to act in his play.

Many actors are more comfortable in front of the camera only in close-ups and mid close ups, but due to my theatrical background, I don’t need to depend only on made-up facial expressions and dialogues but I have a strong body language which brings out the content of the script or the character and thus I never fear any audience. Though theatre and film need completely different style of acting, it is up to the actor how convincing he can be in both the mediums. 


When I was still at school (and college) we formed a theatre group Samanvay that staged plays for competitions - inter-school, inter-college. Somewhere along the way my brother Sandesh Kulkarni, who has been the driving force behind Samanvay felt the need to do theatre beyond 'competition'  - theatre for theatre's sake.

That is when we realized that the 'audience' was a bigger reward that a 'prize' at a competition.

One of our first plays was performed in a Christian prayer hall. The rules forbid us from selling 'tickets' for the performance and being the 'poor' group that we were, we needed to get innovative to raise money to cover our costs - the concept of 'hat collection' was born. We talked to our audience and explained that they could give us what they thought the performance was worth - there were those who gave us 5 rupees and those who gave us 500 for the same performance.


Sandesh became a director in 1994 by transforming (Late) Vijay Tendulkar's column in a Marathi newspaper into a play - Kovali Unhe (Rays of Morning Sun). The articles had been compiled into a book by the same name. Dubeyji asked him to do something based on it. He felt the need for a different format - and thus was born the two characters in the play-the 'writer' and his 'column'.

In 2008, I performed at the Vijay Tendulkar Festival at Pune where I performed extracts from the acclaimed play - Sakharam Binder, which was directed by Sandesh. The DVD version of the play has been released. (Late) Vijay Tendulkar loved this version and complemented us. I take this opportunity to express my gratitude and tribute to my dearest friend and the milestone playwright Vijay Tendulkar.


The first full-length play that Sandesh wrote, Pahila Vahila was the only Marathi play to be performed in a festival organized by the British Council in association with the Royal Court Theatre, London. He was selected from India for an International Residency for Playwrights- A one month workshop in the Royal Court Theatre London in July 2003. I worked with him in that play. It was wonderful to work with my group Samanvay, after a long, long time. I discovered that Sandesh could be quite a hard taskmaster. He made no concessions for me as a sister.


When I moved to Bombay, one of my first plays was with Tushar Dalvi in Chahul, written by Prashant Dalvi and directed by Chandrakant Kulkarni. This contemporary commercial play got good audience response and I recall having done over 165 shows. 

Makarand Deshpande's Hindi play, Basant Ka Teesra Yauvan, was my first Hindi play in Mumbai. This play was later made into a feature film Danav, where I played the lead. The film was chosen to be screened at Cannes Film Festival in the director's fortnight and also at The Third Eye Asian Film Festival.

Another play that I have loved working on was Makarand's Sir Sir Sarla. Sir Sir Sarla is the untold story of a professor and the relationship he shares with his students. 

In the play my co-actor Anurag Kashyap and I share a friendship that I feel has not been depicted in any other film or plays - a unique friendship beyond words. 



In 2007, I did a play Nakko re baba, for Grips Theatres. In this play, adults play children's roles! It was premiered in Seattle, USA. When I am on the lookout for a good script, I use theater to fine-tune my acting abilities. Acting in front of the camera has the danger of becoming monotonous. In theater, I can absolutely bring myself to zero state and start all over again, which I am enjoying with White Lily Anni Night Rider, right now…. Do come for my play!


Excerpts from interviews

I respect Marathi theatre for its original ideas. I believe we have milestone writer like Vijay Tendulkar, Mahesh Elkunchwar, Satish Alekar and many more such writers who have given us original writings that have inspired many films and filmmakers.

I attended a ‘Light Designing’ workshop conducted by Tapas Sem in the year 2000. I have designed lights for more than 10 plays - probably the first female light designer!

I have also assisted in backstage work for more than 15 plays, including costume, make up and props.

After doing all these plays over the last decades, I decided to change roles; hence along with doing the main lead of white lily, I co-produced the play, White Lily Night Rider, along with Dinu Pednekar. I feel stronger and more responsible… and now I can dream bigger.J

It is my great privilege to have opened this play whilst Dr. Mohan Agashe is the Chairperson of Marathi Natya Parishad.  I admire Dr. Agashe’s pioneering efforts to introduce Marathi ‘Natak’ to the entire globe. He has always inspired me a lot.


Aga Aai Ga

Sandeep Kulkarni
Debut as a child actor at age 7


Majhya Baikocha Navara

Sandeep Kulkarni


Gharte

Yogesh Soman
Over 15 shows


HelpLess

Yogesh Soman
Winner of many state level acting awards


Mala Nyaay Hawaa 

– Solo Performance
Sonali Kulkarni
Won many Awards at mono acting competitions.


Baby Birth

Yogesh Soman
Winner of many state level acting awards


Apule Maran

Chin. Tryan. Khanolkar
Dir: Yogesh Soman
Over 15 shows


Naate

Cham. Pra. Deshpande.
Yogesh Soman
Over 75 shows, Winner of many state level acting awards


Shabdostav 

Poetry Programme based on Gyanpeeth Awardee Kusumaagraj V.V. Shirwadkar’s LiteratureMadhavi Vaidya.
Over 50 Shows All Over India.


Aamhi Kharach Nishpaap Hoto 

- one act play
Sonali Kulkarni
Directorial Debut


Manju

 – one act play
Sonali Kulkarni
Winner of many state level awards, for writer, director, actor


Aayushyat  Pahilyandach

 – Poetry programme based on poems by Kusumaagraj
G.P. Deshpande
Dir. Pt. Satyadev Dube
 Over 25 Shows.


Kovli Unhe 

– based on Vijay Tendulkar’s columns
Sandesh Kulkarni
Over 50 Shows.


Moklaa 

- based on Rajiv Naik’s novel
Gajanan Paranjpe
Experimental play


Tyachya Prakhar Samajik Janivanche Nikhare 

– based on Arun sadhu’s novel
Sandesh Kulkarni
Over 25 Shows.


Chahul

Prashant Dalvi
Dir. Chandrakant Kulkarni
Best Actress State Award,
Over 160 Shows.


Basant Ka Tisra Youvan (Hindi)

Makarand Deshpande
Over 15 Shows


Sir Sir Sarla Part 1 [Hindi] 

Makarand Deshpande
Over 50 Shows.


Sir Sir Sarla Part 2 [Hindi]

Makarand Deshpande



Pahile Vahile

Sandesh Kulkarni


An Actor Dies But... [English]

Miro Gavran
Dir. Pt. Satyadev Dube


Sakharam Binder

Vijay Tendulkar
Dir. Sandesh Kulkarni
For Dvd And Vcd release.


Nako Re Baba

Shrirang Godbole
Premiered In Seattle, USA; a Grips Theatre Play.


Murtimant Asmita

Audio Visual Presentation on
Lt. Smita Patil
Lalita Tamhane


White Lily Anni Night Rider

Rasika Joshi
Milind Phatak
Latest Marathi Commercial play being performed in all the leading theatres in Maharashtra.   


Note: Smaller theatre workshops, experimental and one act play (such as Maadi, written by Vijay Tendulkar directed by Vijaya Mehta which was unfortunately left incomplete.) And other school level achievements are not mentioned in the list above.




 
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