I was apprehensive to face camera after so many years: Palekar

I was apprehensive to face camera after so many years: Palekar

Actor and director Amol Palekar, actress Sharmila Tagore (C) and Sandhya, wife of Amol Palekar (L). AP

Palekar, essaying the role of industrialist Keshav Vaze in the soon-to-be-released film, which also stars Sharmila Tagore, says he was very apprehensive to face the camera after so many years.
"I was very apprehensive. I still am. When you have not used your craft for so many years it tends to get rusty but I could not resist the temptation to play Keshav in the movie," 64-year-old Palekar said in an interview.

"Bollywood is not the end of Indian cinema.
There is lot of experiment happening in regional cinema. It is huge, diverse and no country other than India can offer so much in a platter.

I believe that good regional cinema can be more binding and 'Samaantar' is one such film," the actor, who was last seen in Vidhu Vinod Chopra's 'Khamosh' in 1985, says.

"When I read about Keshav, I immediately got drawn to the character which has a complexity and is multi-layered. I took up it as a challenge. I wanted to know whether I could do it or not," says Palekar, who immortalised the quintessential 'middle class man' of Hindi cinema of the 1970s with films like "Golmaal", "Chitchore" and "Ek Chhoti Si Baat".
The film by Big Pictures will be released on September 4 and with English sub-titles in the metros.
The film, written and co-directed by Palekar's wife Sandhya Gokhale, revolves around the story of Keshav, who achieves success but in the process ends up wrapped in his own melancholy prompting him to look back at his life.
He finds his lost love Shama (Sharmila), who is now leading a life of recluse. As Keshav strives to know more about Shama, he realises that though both had drifted apart they have been leading a parallel life sharing their loneliness.
"His (Keshav's) is a success story. He is leading hectic life but at the same time when he returns to his bed at the end of the day he is a very lonely man. This aspect was so fascinating and so challenging for me that I told myself that I want to try this out," the filmmaker says.
This role is not new to Palekar, who started his career as a director with "Akriet" (Misgotten) in 1981 and has tackled many unconventional themes in his journey -- be it a woman's decision to support her gay husband ("Thaang") or a transvestite's struggle for a decent survival ("Daayraa").
Palekar, who calls himself actor by accident and director by choice, says he found it challenging to shuffle between the duel responsibility of a director and actor in "Samaanter".
"Directing the film was not easy because I had stopped doing that (acting and directing) after 'Ankaahi' (1984). I still remember that my entire focus at that time used to be on direction."

"I used to get so consumed in my job as a director that I used to give least time to the actor Amol Palekar. When I realised that, I decided to let the actor rest and work as a filmmaker. But it was easier this time because I shifted the pressure to Sandhya," he says.
Palekar, whose last Hindi film (as a director only) was "Dum Kata" (A Tale of a Tail) starring Om Puri and Shernaz Patel in 2008, says he never felt the need to compromise with his craft.
"My film making process is very simple. I decide to make a film only if I love the subject and the theme. So much so that it becomes almost an obsession with me and I want to share it with people. Every subject comes with its own demands like the language, whether there should be songs or only music -- things that are dictated by the subject."

On whether he was under pressure to compromise with his craft, he says: "I came at a time when the industry had actors like  Dharmendra, Rajesh Khanna and Jitendra with larger-than-life images. No one thought that a hero like me could find success but I was loved by the audiences. As long as I am not trying to be a Rajesh Khanna or someone else there is no risk involved.
"I know what I want to do and how best I can do beyond that what is the fear? Whether the audiences will like it or not is perennial question that will always remain. I also don't believe that there is any success formula," he added.

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