It is not too difficult to recognise Kedar Shinde. A theatre director, writer, film director and a part time actor, it is difficult to say which arena he is better known for. His plays like Amchya Saarkhe Aamhi, Shrimant Damodarpant, Tu Tu Mi Mi, Lochya Zala Re and the successfully running Sahi Re Sahi are well known to every Punekar who enjoys Marathi natka. His television shows like Shriyut Gangandhar Tipre, Hasa Chakat Fu and Ghadalaya Bighadalaya got high TRP ratings, solely on the basis of the good work put in by him and his team. His films too have achieved success, from Aga Bai Arreccha, Jatra, Yanda Kartavya Aahe, Majha Navra Tujhi Baayako, Bakula Namdev Ghotale and Galgale Nighale. Now he is back in action with the cinematic version of his play Shrimant Damodarpant. Starring his favourite and good friend Bharat Jadhav, the film also stars Vijay Chavan, Alka Kubal Athalye, Piyush Ranade, Chaitrali Gupte, Mrunal Dusanis, Abhinay Sawant and Sunil Barve. He speaks to The Punekar about this new venture of his.
You could have revived the play after so many years. Why make a movie?
The play was staged almost 15 years back. The play was only about Damu and what happened within the house. But I thought what would happen if he goes out of the house or if the whole wada is involved. I saw a possibility here to convert it into a film. But it is not possible for plays like Sahi Re Sahi where the fun of seeing 4 Bharat Jadhav’s is only possible on stage.
We have kept just 40% of the play’s content and the changes which have taken place are good. We have removed the boundaries of the house and have shown things on a bigger scale.
Bharat Jadhav and you are inseparable and people think of good work when both of you come together. How would you like to describe this equation?
Our friendship is over 25 years old. As an actor, he listens to what the director has to say and is dedicated to his work. Of course, we have fun while working together. But there is a big responsibility too. When we started, we didn’t plan to work solely for fame, but to work as a team. He works with honesty and gives his 100%. People expect good entertainment from our team and no below-the-belt humour. They expect a family film.
How is the experience of making Alka Kubal creating laughter instead of making people cry?
Actually, comedy is a serious business. People will laugh when we present humour in a serious way. For example, if I keep on laughing at the joke I am trying to explain, it won’t have the desired effect. I did not offer Alka tai the role to change her image but she was the right choice for the role of Mai. Her character is caught between her son who transforms into her father-in-law after 6pm every day and her husband who gets beaten up by the possessed son daily. We have worked together for the first time and I realised what a gem of a person she is.
I wrote this play in 1998. I had seen an English film (the play is not related to it). One of the scenes was where the hero and villain were fighting near a cliff. The hero pushes the villain off the edge and is seen hanging by the ledge. The villain begs the hero to save him. But when the hero does that, the villain pulls him down and saves himself. While the villain is saying goodbye to the hero, an eagle comes and makes the villain fall in the ravine. I realised, what if I change the timing and keep an incident taking place after 6pm? I took the concept from there and developed my own story of a guy who changes into his grandfather after 6pm.
The expectations will be big for this film. Are you prepared for it?
When I am working on a film, I think solely on the project and not on other things. I ask myself if the film has become an entertainer. If it rises on that account, then you do not need things like an item song. I have made the film with good faith and it is up to the viewers to decide its fate. Let them talk about it.
Any new plays coming from your side?
No. I have two more films on my hand – Kalla and an untitled film. Even before my play goes public, I need to do my preparations for two months. But few actors are dedicated to giving the required time these days.