Updated: December 21, 2021 4:30:24 pm
Veteran actor Padmini Kolhapure says being a Raj Kapoor protegee has been one of the high points of her career. “I started as a child actor, and I learned everything from him,” Kolhapure said in an exclusive chat with indianexpress.com.
From a little girl in Satyam Shivam Sundaram to a young widow in Prem Rog, Kolhapure was in sync with what Raj Kapoor looked for in his heroines. She said the legendary filmmaker used to enact scenes for her as she was a kid, but by the time Prem Rog happened, she knew exactly what he wanted.
“In Satyam Shivam Sundaram, he used to actually stand up and perform for me because I was a little girl. He was grooming me as an actor. When I did Prem Rog, he was sitting on his chair because I knew exactly what his pulse was. He knew my limitations, my capabilities. We had that understanding,” Kolhapure recalled.
As a tribute to Raj Kapoor, Padmini Kolhapure recently sang and recreated the iconic track from his directorial Prem Rog, “Yeh Galiyan Yeh Chaubara.” In the new version, Kolhapure plays the mother of the bride and is lost in memories of bringing up her daughter, who’s now set to enter marital bliss. Kolhapure shared that the song has been an integral part of her life and that she’s danced to it on numerous occasions.
“When Dhamaka Records started, my son Priyaank and his partner Paras were keen that we recreate ‘Yeh Galiyan Yeh Chaubara’ which was quite a shock to me because to recreate such an iconic song is not easy. It was a huge pressure. I have dedicated the song to Raj Kapoor because it is his creation, his vision,” the senior actor said.
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“Yeh Galiyan Yeh Chaubara” was originally sung by Lata Mangeshkar, who also happens to be Kolhapure’s aunt. So how did Mangeshkar react when she got to know her niece was singing the recreated version? “She was very happy that we are recreating it and that Priyaank was doing it. So thanks to her,” she shared.
In an active career spanning around two decades, Kolhapure has paired up with actors like Dilip Kumar, Rajesh Khanna, Mithun Chakraborty, Sanjay Dutt, Anil Kapoor and others. But her collaboration with Rishi Kapoor stands out. In fact the actor revealed that it was because of him that she got Zamaane Ko Dikhana Hai, her first film as the leading lady at the age of 15.
Kolhapure shared that she was first a Rishi Kapoor fan and then shared screen space with him in films. “I have been his huge fan before I got into acting. I watched his films first day first show — Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh were oh my god!” Kolhapure even bunked school to watch his movies, “Chintu sir was my senior. He had seen me as baby Rupa in Satyam Shivam Sundaram. So he treated me like a little girl who was working with him. Thanks to him, I got Zamaane Ko Dikhana Hai,” she added.
“For me, he was also one part of my training because I’ve learned so much from him as an actor. Not that he’s actually stood there and taught me but when you get an actor par excellence in front of you, you have no choice but to act,” she said with a smile.
In retrospect, Kolhapure has been part of films with strong, bold themes, that were ahead of the times. These include Insaaf Ka Tarazu, Saajan Bina Suhagan, Gehrayee and more. But was Kolhapure aware about this back then when she was a child actor? “Not at all. I was really small so I didn’t know. But now when I look back, I feel blessed to have worked in such films under great filmmakers. But each film has a time, and I think it was best that it came out then. It managed to created quite a stir. That wouldn’t have happened now maybe,” she opined.
Padmini Kolhapure did TV show Ekk Nayi Pehchaan in 2014. However, post that she remained averse to working on the small screen. In fact she even refused the role of Tulsi Virani in soap opera Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, when Smriti Irani quit the show. “I was definitely getting a lot of offers. But I was hesitant because you have to devote a lot of time, your personal life comes to a standstill. It’s an ongoing thing, very demanding and there’s no finish line. So that’s what really got me a bit iffy about doing television.”
Kolhapure further shared that despite such reservations, a medium doesn’t matter as she ended up doing theatre instead, and she loved that. “I used to hear Naseer (Naseeruuddin Shah) calling theatre his first passion. Initially, I was extremely paranoid but once I stepped into it, I realised that’s a different high. I realised what actors actually mean by saying, there’s nothing beyond theatre,” she said.
Starting off so early in her life and still being open to acting offers, did Padmini Kolhapure miss any part of her childhood or growing up years? S”It’s like you’d never know how sweet tastes, unless you’ve tried something sweet. I’ve enjoyed my childhood. I’ve had great friends. I’ve been to school, I’ve done everything that maybe a child does at that age. Of course I have not experienced college life. But I don’t miss that because I’ve not experienced it so I don’t know what it feels like,” she said.
On a concluding note, Padmini Kolhapure laughed off at the mention whether she’d dance on “Yeh Galiyan Yeh Chaubara” at her niece Shraddha Kapoor’s wedding. “I’ll have to wait really long to dance at Shraddha’s wedding, because it’s nowhere on the cards at the moment. Maybe I’ll dance at the wedding of a friend’s daughter instead.”
Padmini Kolhapure was seen in Panipat and Marathi film Prawaas. She will also be seen in Taapsee Pannu starrer Blurr.
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