Different Strokes

Clichéd as it may sound,for Atul Kulkarni variety is the spice of life. From playing the role of a Hindu ideologue in Hey Ram to a corrupt cop in Dum...

Written by PriyankaPereira | Published: February 20, 2009 12:51 am

Atul Kulkarni breaks away from his image of a serious actor with a comic role in Delhi-6

Clichéd as it may sound,for Atul Kulkarni variety is the spice of life. From playing the role of a Hindu ideologue in Hey Ram to a corrupt cop in Dum,an ambitious politician in Satta,an anti-social in Chandni Bar and a crime reporter in Page 3,he has tried his hand at diverse roles. With Delhi-6,Kulkarni has taken a giant step. “It’s different from all the ‘serious’ roles I’ve played in the past. I play Gobar,a feel-good character,who loves to be around people. He is the ‘go to’ person in the area and there is also a bit of comic element involved,” he says.

So was this an effort to breakaway from being typecast? “Of course it was. Nobody wants to be termed as an offbeat or serious actor,” says Kulkarni,who plays another integral role after Rang De Basanti.

The actor,on the insistence of director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra,had a complete makeover for the role. “Rakeysh never rushes through his scenes and spends a lot of time making his characters look different,” says Kulkarni,who is sporting a clean-shaven look in the film. “Rakeysh wanted a complete change in physical appearance. So,one day I shaved off my moustache and landed at his office. At first he didn’t recognise me. After a while,he said that it was perfect for the role. He then asked me to gel my hair and backcomb it,” he says. The costumes were also inspired from a hawker whom Kulkarni met at Chandni Chowk while shooting for an advertisement.

Kulkarni,who has played a romantic lead in a small budget English film Mansarovar,is keen to do more characters in mainstream cinema. “I would love to sing songs with my heroine,” he smiles. But for the moment the focus is on Delhi-6. “Delhi-6 has a cross-section of the Indian film industry — Waheeda Rehman,Rishi Kapoor,Abhishek Bachchan,Sonam Kapoor. It is a fantastic combination of experience and youth,” says Kulkarni,who considers Mehra,Madhur Bhandarkar and Kamal Hasan to be the most realistic filmmakers in the country.

Although he has won two National Awards,the number of movies he has done is inversely proportional to his success ratio. “I am rather infamous for saying no to roles. It is not like I have too many roles in my kitty. I just like to pick those that have some kind of social relevance,” he confirms. He adds,“For someone with my kind of temperament,I have got more than what I hoped for.” He signs off with the hope that his other releases,Allah kay Banday and Bum Bum Bole,will help him achieve more. For now,however,he’s got his fingers crossed for Delhi-6.

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