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It has been her all-time favourite play.

Written by Garima Mishra | Published: May 27, 2013 1:01:23 am

After a gap of four years,Sonali Kulkarni makes a comeback to the world of theatre with White Lily and Night Rider,which also marks the launch of her production house

It has been her all-time favourite play. Each time the play—White Lily and Night Rider—was staged,theatre and film actor Sonali Kulkarni would coax her friends and relatives to go and watch it . Today,however,the situation has changed. The thought of switching the role — from being an audience to a performer in a play she loved so much,never crossed her mind. “I have witnessed the huge success and accolades the play received. It came to a halt after Rasika Joshi,who wrote,directed and played the lead character,passed away in 2011. Three months back,Milind Phatak,co-writer and co-director of the play,approached me with the role of the woman protagonist,originally played by Rasika. I took no time in accepting the offer,” says Kulkarni,who is also launching her theatre production house So Kool with this play. The Marathi play,a black comedy,which opened in Mumbai on Friday,will be staged for the first time in Pune today,at Yashwantrao Chavan Natyagruaha at 9.30 pm. It will also be restaged on June 1 and 12 at Yashwantrao Chavan Natyagruha and Balgandharva Rangmandir respectively. The play has been co-produced by Dinu Pednekar,who also produced the earlier version.

Directed by Phatak and Girish Joshi,White Lily and Night Rider,she says,is a contemporary play about a man and a woman in their 40s,who are close chat friends on the Internet,who also indulge in erotic conversations. As they explore the option of marriage,they are faced with real life issues. The play raises questions about the fundamentals and foundation of relationships. Despite the play’s past success,replacing the character played Rasika (Joshi),was not pressurising for Kulkarni. “Somewhere,I didn’t want to do what she did; she is incomparable. I didn’t want to create her magic and yet remain true to the script. There was no pressure from the directors to ape Rasika. I surrendered to the play with my own personality. When I did my first show,I almost choked but gathered myself instantly,” says Kulkarni. The overwhelming response fetched by the play in three days,has been overwhelming. “Now I am at ease,” she adds.

It is after a gap of four years that Kulkarni is returning to theatre. Her last play was Shrirang Godbole’s Nako Re Baba. “We performed it for GRIPS. However,in India,we did not perform too many shows,” she says.

Kulkarni’s tryst with the world of theatre began 25 years ago,when used to do participate in plays performed during Ganesh Festival with her brother Sandesh,who,she says,has been a guiding force for creativity. “He would write,direct and create music. I wanted to imitate every bit of him,” says Kulkarni,adding that during her days in Fergusson College she performed a number of plays and won awards. The brother-sister duo even formed their own theatre group called Samanvay and participated in various theatre competitions. “After a point of time,I decided against performing at such competitions because then you limit yourself and your creativity to just winning an award,” says Kulkarni. Working under late Satyadev Dubey,veteran theatre and film personality,she says,shaped her understanding of nuances of theatre. Some of her plays that were well-received include Makarand Deshpande’s Basant Ka Teesra Yauvan,Sandesh Kulkarni’s Pahila Vahila and Vijay Tendulkar’s Sar Sar Sarla to name a few.

As far as films are concerned,her last Hindi film was Singham,post which,she took a small sabbatical to take care of her newborn daughter. She won a number of awards for her last Marathi release Deool. Her recent Marathi films include Pune 52,Kokanastha and a bilingual titled Prakash Amte. “I am super thrilled with the way my career has shaped up. Apart from Hindi and regional films,I am also able to do regional theatre,” she says.

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