The word ‘passionate’ and the phrase ‘being true to one’s passion’ comes up for Upendra Limaye, an actor par excellence. This talented National Award winner will be seen in the Marathi film circuit with his new film, Mahesh Limaye directed Yellow. Here, you will see Upendra as a coach who trains Gauri Gadgil, a Down’s syndrome child, to achieve success in swimming, despite the odds.
Upendra admits to not planning to pick certain roles. “You follow certain people as inspiration. Then there are certain contemporaries that you want to work with. You have a certain respect for them. That is the kind of relation between Mahesh (Limaye) and me. We have worked in films where he was the film’s cinematographer. I would push him to make films. He has different thoughts and can handle things neatly. When the script was final, it was fixed that the coach’s role was made with me in mind. I trust Mahesh. I am glad things have worked out for me.”
Upendra looks to the content to take up a certain projects, like Jogwa which catapulted him to national glory. He refused a number of films later, because the content was either similar to Jogwa or nothing appealing. Only if the content is good, he is willing to do even a small but good role in that film. “Yellow’s content is the hero. It is technically sound too.” On a personal level, he has limited reference regarding special kids. He has total respect for their parents. “The child does not know about his condition. His parents are true heroes in the way they handle these kids. Mahesh knew his subject and everything has been incorporated. It is a sensitive topic but the outlook towards it is practical. Thus, the film has come out as positive, in terms of text and execution process. I am happy to be associated with Yellow. After ages, I am working with a child artist who is genuine, positive and transparent. She has purity in her.”
Upendra has quite some scenes with Gauri Gadgil who plays the older Gauri. “I was tensed, as for the first time, I felt I need to interact and know the girl with whom I am going to act in proper way. One needs to have a bond as co-artist. Right after our first meet, I made a friend for a lifetime. The project has some of the finest moments. It has helped me as an actor.”
Satisfaction is never the word in any actor’s dictionary. Actors like Upendra too belong to this unsatisfied category. “Marathi industry is now happening. When I started, there were just two streams of filmmakers – Dr Jabbar Patel and Amol Palekar. Now different genres have merged. It is content-oriented. Earlier, such films were produced by NFDC. The audience has grown and different films are getting Box Office collections. The challenge is to stay that way and grow. Just do not try to fool the audience with wrong information or it will be difficult to bring the audience back.” He knows there are sensible filmmakers around and he is happy if he gets their support.
Upendra will be seen next in a love story called Guru Pournima. He has had a hand in some comedy films earlier, which he calls serious business. But he is disheartened that they did not do well. “I really want to do different films.” The audience certainly wants to see more of Upendra Limaye.