Sharad Kelkar, who was last seen as a transgender person in Laxmii, is all set to feature in an entirely different role in Bipin Nadkarni’s ZEE5 film Darbaan. Here, he plays the good-hearted Anukool who forms a strong bond with his caretaker Raicharan (Sharib Hashmi). The film focuses on their friendship which stays unaffected by their social status and caste.
“Darbaan is a very different film from whatever suspense thrillers you have been watching these days. It can be watched with family. Bipin has beautifully portrayed human emotions here. Sharib Hashmi, who is 40, has played the role of a 60-year-old man and has done full justice to it,” says Kelkar as he talks about Darbaan.
Here are excerpts from the conversation:
Darbaan was supposed to release in April. Now it is releasing on an OTT platform after so long. How was the wait for you?
The wait has been crazy. We shot the film a few years ago when all the ugly commercial films and masala films were being made. There were no content-driven films. So, this was a breather for us as actors. We were only doing action thrillers, and we wanted to do something emotional, beautiful and loveable.
What is it about Darbaan that will appeal to the audience?
Firstly, it is the content of the film. Nowadays, we are used to watching suspense thrillers or stories of gangsters. But, Darbaan is a story about relationships, love and sacrifice. Honestly, I have been waiting for such a film. Also, Bipin has written the film so well that it was so easy to perform it. Also, the music of the film is so melodious that it is the USP of the film.
You have worked with Bipin on the National Award-winning film Uttarayan. How was it collaborating with him again?
When I came to Bombay in 2003, I was a lanky fellow of 70 kgs who was going door to door for auditions. I auditioned for one of the ads Bipin was making and after a few days, he called me and said he is making a film and asked me to be a part of it. That’s how Uttrayan happened. Then after 15 years, he called me and said that he is making a film after a gap of 7-8 years and asked if I will be a part of it. I felt, first, it is my duty to do it since he gave me my first movie. When he narrated the film, I felt my part was so nicely written. This also was a breather for me since I was only doing either negative roles or films in the south. So, it was great to be called by a National Award-winning filmmaker for his film.
Now that Indian content has undergone a huge transformation, how do you feel when you finally get to showcase your craft and be recognised for it in return as well?
We have a variety of roles now. When OTT was not there, every actor’s monetary value was calculated. But now a person’s talent is calculated. Earlier, a lot was put at risk. But now we have more opportunities and better options. For character actors like us, we have a chance to experiment now. Also, the audience has got a variety of content, and they have a choice to reject what they do not like.
It was recently announced that OTT platforms will now come under the purview of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Do you think it’s fair?
In some ways. There has to be some censorship and it needs to be done thoughtfully. If the content needs an intimate scene to take the story forward, then fine. However, there are times when it is only there to grab eyeballs and lure the audience, so there censorship is required. It is not right to do it unnecessarily. There was only one medium left to come under censorship, and if you do it there as well, the writing will suffer a lot. You can do certification maybe, why only 18+ content, there should be a 21+ content disclaimer as well. People sitting for censorship should watch the entire content and not decide based on just one scene. Having said that, I also feel India has a lot of pseudo people who abuse at home in front of their children, but watching it on TV is unacceptable.
Darbaan starts streaming on ZEE5 on December 4.
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