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Beyond the Bonds

National Award-winning actor Vikram Gokhale on his upcoming Marathi film Khopa, his choice of roles and why he misses doing theatre.

Written by ISHA SHANKER |
Updated: May 21, 2017 12:00:25 am
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I don’t see the length of the role, I see its depth. I sign roles that I think are alright in my head. If the role is right in the head, it will feel right in the heart too,” says veteran actor Vikram Gokhale, who will be seen Marathi film Khopa that releases on May 26.

The film sees Gokhale playing a retired old man who lives with his son, daughter-in-law and their child. On the face of it, though the role appears a simple one, the actor reveals the reason why he signed it. “Even blood-related families have a few knots and obstacles. When you see the film you will realize that in the family, no one is related to each other by blood, yet they are a family. When I heard this, I immediately accepted the role,” he explains.

Khopa begins with an earthquake due to which many families are separated. This particular family is formed because of the earthquake. Khopa, says Sudhir Nikam who has directed the film, is all about understanding the people who live together under one roof as a family even though they aren’t. “It is the story of a child who doesn’t know that the person who he calls ‘father’ isn’t his father, the person who he calls his ajoba isn’t his real grandfather. The role of ajoba is a significant one and I don’t think anyone else other than Vikramji could have done justice to it,” says Nikam.

The actor, who’s also been a part of a variety of Hindi films such as Agneepath (1990), Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999) and Bhool Bhulaiyaa (2007), among others, feels that over the past few decades, Marathi film industry has seen many ups and downs. “In 2004, a film named Shwaas came, which was also India’s official entry to the 2004 Oscars. That film was a trendsetter,” says Gokhale. The story was of a young boy with retinal cancer whose only chance for survival is an operation that will leave him blind. Prior to that film, the industry was going through a rough patch. “After Shwaas, people started investing in films with pathbreaking topics. Then came a wave of films on challenging themes. Suddenly, 200-250 films in a year were hitting the theatres,” says Gokhale.

He points out that while it is not difficult to choose a nuanced topic for the film, understanding the topic and making the viewers understand the topic in simple words keeping in mind the entertainment quotient, is a daunting task and not everyone can do this job. “The strength of such films decreased over the past one year. The producers have become reluctant because they invest a lot and don’t get that much in terms of returns,” he adds.

Last year Gokhale announced the decision to quit theatre on medical advice. He was suffering from a throat ailment. Though he has no plans to get back on the stage, the actor says he misses theatre very much. “People think that theatre is more satisfying because you receive direct appreciation. For me, doing theatre is like making an offering to Lord Natrajan. Each rehearsal and each performance is a second chance given to me by the Almighty to improve my performance and do better the next time by working on my faults and flaws. Rangmanch is a school. There is a second chance given every day, in every performance. I always advice the new generation of actors to do at least one play in a year for learning and knowledge and, and not for money,” says Gokhale, who won the National Award for Best Actor for his film Anumati in 2013.

The versatile actor, who directed Marathi film Aaghat in 2010, is all set to direct again. The story, he shares, is a murder mystery on woman empowerment. It talks about how even in 2017, men perceive women as objects. “I am planning to make it in Hindi and then if it is a hit, it can later be dubbed into different languages. The script and dialogues are ready. I need a producer now,” says Gokhale, whose upcoming Bollywood projects include a film by Neeraj Pandey and a Yashraj production.

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