Marathi cinema brave, but is struggling: Padmini Kolhapure

Padmini Kolhapure's latest Marathi drama, Prawaas — her third film in the language — had its screening at the 51st edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in the Indian Panorama section.

Veteran actor Padmini Kolhapure believes Marathi film industry is churning out “braver” content that Hindi movies, but is struggling to thrive amid several challenges, including stiff competition from Bollywood.

The 55-year-old actor’s latest Marathi drama, Prawaas — her third film in the language — had its screening at the 51st edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in the Indian Panorama section.

In an interview with PTI, Kolhapure said the reception to Prawaas was overwhelming and instilled hope that films which are trying to push boundaries will ultimately find acceptance.

“Marathi cinema is braver than Hindi films. It is still struggling. There’s a lot of competition, it has to face several challenges. But I’m confident it’ll eventually pave a way. Amidst all of this, when you see something like Prawaas which breaks the path, it’s heartwarming. I am a Maharashtrian, I want Marathi cinema to do well,” she said.

Directed by Shashank Udapurkar, the film is described as an emotional journey of an elderly couple, Abhijat Inamdar, played by actor Ashok Saraf and Lata Inamdar (Kolhapure).

The actor, who has worked in acclaimed films like Satyam Shivam Sundaram (1978), filmmaker BR Chopra’s 1980 drama Insaf Ka Tarazu and Raj Kapoor’s Prem Rog, said she was touched by the messaging of Prawaas.

“I was drawn to the film for the sensitivity and the story. It’s a beautiful, tender film about life, living it to the fullest, looking out for reasons to make a meaningful existence. This gave me the opportunity to collaborate with Ashok also, and I had such a good experience,” she added.

Kolhapure began acting at the age of seven in 1972, featuring in films like Zindagi and Dream Girl before getting a breakthrough with Satyam Shivam Sundaram.

The actor said when she started her career, she simply “surrendered to the moment.”

“Then, it was a snowball effect. I was fortunate to get to work with good films, roles, directors and producers. I got lucky that way, despite starting so young. You can call me destiny’s child.”

The veteran, who was last seen on the big screen in Arjun Kapoor-starrer Panipat in 2019, said her film choices are purely dictated by her instinct.

“I am extremely impulsive with my choices. It has to click or else nothing. If it’s right or wrong, that’s on me. I take the responsibility for the decisions but it has to touch me, I have to feel it from within for me to do it,” she added.

Kolhapure said now she doesn’t follow any “dos and don’ts” for scripts and rather looks out for opportunities which offer her something that she has not done in her nearly five decades long career.

“I did Panipat, it didn’t necessarily have this great role. But I wanted to be a part of the experience of working in an Ashutosh Gowariker film and play this ”queen.” I wanted to experience that and so I made that choice,” she said.

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