Interviews

Working with Shahrukh, was a memorable experience – Atul Todankar

For the past 15 years, Atul Todankar has been entertaining the audience on stage and television; but he received the recognition of an actor like a rubber stamp, with Zee Marathi’s reality show ‘Fu Bai Fu’. Atul himself admits that Zee is like his aunty, to offer him all that he aspired for, i.e. Name, fame and right kind of roles. His latest achievement is an ad film that too for Dish TV, along with none other than Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan. In fact, Atul received his first break on Television, through Sachin Pilgaonkar’s ‘Tu Tu Main Main’. Knowing his ability, Sachin offered him a chance in his dance show ‘Ekapeksha Ek’, offering him a partner like Vishakha. Thereafter, it was ‘Fu Bai Fu’ with Anshuman Vichare and since then Atul’s progress has been noteworthy.

Atul Todankar
The beginning of 2012 has been most memorable for him, having done an ad with Shahrukh Khan and getting two good offers from Marathi Dramas, namely Rajesh Deshpande’s ‘Aaho Rahoo Dhyana Ghari’ which will be staged on the auspicious Gudhi Padwa day and Shekhar Dhavlikar’s ‘A Aaicha B Baicha’ which will be staged in April 2012. Atul is all excited about these two projects, as he plays both the roles opposite his favorite actress Nirmiti Sawant, with whom he had performed in the past at the beginning of his acting career on stage. It may be recalled that Atul has worked with many known people like Santosh Pawar and Kedar Shinde. He played as replacement for Shreyas Talpade in the play ‘Tur Tur’ in the past.

A student of Mumbai’s Shardashram School, known for cricket, Atul has seen all those cricketers like Sachin Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli creating records for his school. Sachin is two years senior to him and he did inspire Atul to take up cricket. But, Atul had other plans. After his 12th, Atul joined Engineering in Mumbai’s VJTI college and even passed with a good percentage. He even got his placement in a good company through Campus recruitment. But, suddenly he developed interest for stage, when he saw his friends like Paddy and Vikas perform during a drama rehearsal. Atul thought that there was a lot of creativity in this field. He decided to pursue this new hobby and hence joined BEST as an Engineer, as he very well knew that BEST encouraged artistes like Prashant Damle, Sharad Ponkshe and others.

Atul went on to win many awards while in the service of BEST and received good support from his employers and superiors, whenever he was required to perform. At present, Atul is on special leave, having been associated with many projects; but his employers have told him to return to his job, within next two years, if he so desires. With the available time with him, Atul wants to make the best use of it by focusing his attention on good roles. The two big stage assignments he has in hand, would certainly open the doors for him on television and films. He is already doing a serial ‘Puneri Misal’ and ‘Fu Bai Fu’ has already brought him name and fame.

Recalling his most memorable moment in life, Atul remembers the day, when he was selected to play a friend of Shahrukh Khan for the Dish TV advertisement, released recently. “It so happened that I was busy shooting for ‘Puneri Misal’, when I received a call from a coordinator to report for audition of this advertisement. But, I could not report, as my shooting got over late in the evening. Next day, I received a call again and they asked me to report. So, I managed to report that day and they took my audition for all eight different characters. When I received the call again to inform me that I was short listed and was required to report for dress rehearsal, still I was not that serious; as on that day too, I was on my way to Pune. But, they agreed for the next day. When I went there, I was told that I was doing the ad along with Shahrukh Khan. It was a great moment for me, when on the actual shooting day, I met him. He released my tension by himself introducing to me and gave me a hug, when I told him that I couldn’t believe my eyes that I was working with him,” says Atul, while narrating the incident.

“For me, Shahrukh was a great inspiration, as I found him a perfect professional actor, who comes prepared for all his scenes. He takes his own time to rehearse the scene and is very systematic in his work. There are many good qualities of him that I learned during my association with him for about 7 hours on the sets. I closely observed him. It was an experience to remember, ” he concludes.

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