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Screen Presence

Nobody was more surprised than filmmaker Amol Palekar’s wife Sandhya Gokhale when he agreed to act in a film scripted by her.

Written by Debesh Banerjee |
August 26, 2009 12:55:43 am

Nobody was more surprised than filmmaker Amol Palekar’s wife Sandhya Gokhale when he agreed to act in a film scripted by her. “He took one look at the screenplay of Samaantar and said yes. I was elated,” says Gokhale. Samaantar,a Marathi film,marks Palekar’s return to the big screen as an actor after 23 years. The film will release with Hindi and English subtitles on September 4.

“Acting was never the main focus while working in films though I was never averse to the idea. I just did not want to settle for something mediocre,” says the 65-year-old Palekar,who has also directed Samaantar,during a visit to Delhi,accompanied by Gokhale and co-star Sharmila Tagore,to promote the film.

The last time we saw Palekar on screen,he was a villain in Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Khamosh in 1985. “Movie making and subjects have evolved since then and I opted to contribute to cinema by making films instead,” he adds. Samaantar follows an ageing couple played by Palekar and Sharmila Tagore who meet again after a long gap. “Early in life,they shared a loving relationship. Then,cruel twists of fate separated them for 30 years,” explains Gokhale.

Palekar,whose last Marathi film was Anahat,which he directed in 2003,was impressed by the range of character and theme in Samaantar. “My character Keshav Vaze is an industrialist who comes from a small village and makes it big. But every day after he returns home,he sits on a rocking chair and contemplates about the years gone by. This was a character I had wanted to explore in an understated way,” explains Palekar. Samaantar has received the Audience Award at the Beyond Bollywood Film Festival in Stuttgart,Germany,this year. “I am not sure whether this film would have the same impact had it been made in Hindi,” says Gokhale.

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Even as they prepare for the big screen release of the film,another project is in the pipeline — the couple’s next project Dumkata,a children’s film in Hindi,which will release later this year.

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