With the super hit movies like ‘Shwaas’, ‘Pachadlela’and ‘Sarivar Sari’, Marathi film industry is at booming stage again. A sizable signing amount and a better marketing and distribution network are the major reasons for young talents to get attracted toward this industry. Sonalee Kulkarni – one of the most upcoming talents in Marathi Film Industry, who has received an award for best actress at ‘Zee Gaurav’ for her debut movie – ‘Bakula Namdev Ghotale’ is the best example.
What is your reaction after Zee Gaurav Award?
Obviously, I’m thrilled after this award. I never thought that I’d get the award, especially when prominent actresses like Pratiksha Lonkar and Ashvini Bhave were also in the race. I was happy, as I was nominated for my debut movie. I went there just to enjoy the ceremony but when I heard my name, I couldn’t believe. It was really a big surprise to me. It looks like early success, but believe me, there is lot of hard work behind it. It was a tough decision for any next-door girl to frame her career in an uncertain field like this, without any godfather. But I trusted my abilities; worked hard and after struggle of almost 4-5 years, God has turned my fate into brighter side.
So, you have struggled a lot, to achieve this admiration….
Yes! I was involved in dancing since I was in class fifth. I got first opportunity of acting in class 9th for FTII short-film. But even after that I was confused whether I should choose acting as a career or not. But when I was in class 10th, I participated in a beauty contest- ‘May Queen’. Though I had not taken it seriously, I grabbed runner-up position with 5 subtitles. The victory boosted my confidence so much that I decided to edge my career in the same field. That’s the reason why I went on to choose mass communication after completing 12th from Ferguson College’s. Taking this decision was an easy thing, but further path was not easy at all. I neither have any ‘godfather’ in the industry, nor contacts. I gave auditions all over India initially and hardly got any success. I was so crazy at that time that I used to make 5-6 trips to Mumbai in a week even for small auditions. Meanwhile, I endorsed few brands like ‘Vipul Sarees’, ‘Idea Cellular’, ‘PNG’ and ‘Reliance’. I also performed a dance in a movie- ‘Gadhvache Lagna’. But ‘Bakula Namdev Ghotale’ was my first full-fledged movie.
How did you get that movie?
Actually, by luck! Ankush Chaudhari called me for an audition of ‘Sade Made Teen’. But that audition was cancelled because of some reason. When I was coming back to Pune, Ankush Chaudhari called me to tell that Kedar Shinde was in search of a new face for his upcoming movie. “If you want to meet him, I’ll talk to him.” he said. Obviously, I was interested and so I met Kedar Shinde. My audition for ‘Bakula’ was actually held in front of ‘RK Studio’ under streetlights. At that time only Kedar Shinde offered me role of ‘Bakula’.
Even in the early life of your career, you have worked with prominent names of Industry like Bharat Jadhav, Kedar Shinde . How was the experience?
Amazing! I have learned so many practical things with them. Bharat Jadhav and Siddharth Jadhav helped me a lot. When I was very nervous at first shot, Siddharth Jadhav made me feel nice by telling me jokes. Even Kedar Shinde never used to shout at me, even if I made any foolish mistake. After one week, I adjusted well and gave many ‘First take’ perfect shots. I even worked with legendary actor ‘Ashok Saraf’. Let me tell you, all these people in Marathi Film Industry are very helpful and down to earth. It is extremely nice and learning experience to work with them.
Sonalee Kulkarni in ‘Bakula Namdev Ghotale’ What are your future plans?
To complete my graduation! Because of heavy workload, I have been forced to bunk many lectures. Despite that, my teachers have supported me well, Completing graduation will be my priority. Beside that, I have also planned to complete my post graduation in Mass Communication, simultaneously with my career in acting. I know that people are expecting much more from me after ‘Zee Gaurav Award’ but let me assure them that I will fulfill all the expectations and responsibilities through best acting. I have already got two more movies and negotiations are going on with few producers. I hope, I will be able see my dreams come true and become the most successful actress