Atul Kulkarni is hailed as one of the finest actors in both Marathi and Hindi film industry. He has inspired many young actors and has portrayed some very unconventional and complex roles on screen. The National award-winning actor has left an indelible impact on people’s mind through his outstanding performances.
The 56-year-old actor won the National Award for best supporting actor for Chandni Bar (2001), his second Hindi film. In a recent interview with Hindustan Times, Kulkarni said he owes his popularity to the film, adding it was an important experience.
Atul Kulkarni also won a National Award for Hey Ram (2000), but shared that Chandni Bar is the film that gave him a different footing and a different kind of recognition. The critically acclaimed actor was praised for his portrayal of Pottya Sawant, a gangster, in the film. But he vividly remembers one particular feedback that remains etched in his mind till date.
“We had a trial show before the film was released. It was kept for the real-life bar girls. After the show, I was standing outside the theatre when one of them came up to me. She didn’t look at me but just took my hand in hers and said to me, ‘Shukriya, aap ne bar girl se shaadi kar li.’ And then she walked away,” Kulkarni reminisced.
Directed by Madhur Bhandarkar, Chandni Bar (2001) also starred Tabu in a pivotal role. Speaking about sharing screen space with her in the film, Atul Kulkarni said it was a memorable experience for him.
“It was a very different film, both for me and Tabu. We were required to be extremely comfortable with each other as people. When a star is working with a newcomer, it’s the star’s responsibility to bring a sense of comfort and friendship to the table. Tabu ji did really well,” Atul Kulkarni said.
Today, ‘Chandni Bar’ completes 20 years of its release and Kulkarni believes that the film set a precedent and brought about a change in the way Hindi cinema was perceived. “It was a tragedy in the classical sense," Atul said. The actor added that back in the days, the film was considered ‘non-commercial’, but it went out to become a super hit.
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