HE made a smashing debut playing a character that is close to himself. Akash Thosar’s Parshya, in Nagraj Manjule’s 2016 Marathi blockbuster Sairat, became a heartthrob, garnering fans from across Maharashtra and outside. The actor’s second feature film, Friendship Unlimited (FU), has him play a character that is far removed from the world of the shy and charming village boy Thosar plays in Sairat.
Directed by Mahesh Manjrekar, in FU, he essays the character of Sahil, a rich urban Maharashtrian boy who is studying in a south Mumbai college. “Sahil is confident, maybe even a tad cocky,” says Thosar, who has been admittedly nervous about the role. “I don’t speak English. My Marathi too has an accent, having spent the last many years in a village. To transform into Sahil has been a challenge,” says the 24-year-old, who did a workshop to manage
The film, which released on June 2, revolves around a bunch of friends and the issues they face, from drug abuse to the matters of the heart. The film also marks the acting debut of Manjrekar’s son, Satya. It is the first attempt by the director, who has in the past made films such as Natsamrat (2016) and Kaksparsh (2012), at catering to the youth market.
To Thosar, however, FU represents the various kinds of relationships parents share with their children. “To some, parents are friends while to a few others, they are mentors. The film shows how parents can help their young children escape the horrors of addiction and battle other issues of adolescence. Rarely does Marathi cinema talk about this,” he says. Thosar’s own relationship with his parents, who live in Pune, is conventional. “I immensely fear both my mom and my dad. If I were to ever smoke or drink, she may throw me out of the house. My dad never hit me but I fear him way more than I fear my mother,” he says.
The film, however, has received mixed reviews and Thosar, many say, has been miscast in the role. The actor, however, is hoping he won’t lose the immense love of the audience he won with his debut role. “It’s one thing to be a star. That’s not what Sairat made me. It helped me connect with people at a personal level. Wherever I go, people treat me with love, like I am their family member. That’s precious,” he says.
Thosar wants to give his acting career a good shot. He has given up on his earlier dream of being a wrestler. “I was training in kushti and used to fight small bouts when Manjule sir spotted me and offered me a film. But I don’t get the same kind of time to focus on training anymore. A whole year was spent travelling for the shoot of FU and wrestling requires a lot of discipline, and focus on training and diet.”
His parents, albeit strict, are in favour of his decision. Thosar says, “He is a huge movie-buff. We have always had posters of film stars like Amitabh Bachchan on the walls of our home. I would bunk college and go watch movies at the house of a friend who owned a DVD player. Today, it’s a big deal for me that others are doing the same to watch