'My years at NSD were the best'

'My years at NSD were the best'

'My years at NSD were the best'

When you hear the names of Bollywood classics such as Saaransh, Agneepath (original version) and Munnabhai MBBS, there is one talent common to all of these, Rohini Hattangadi.

A product of National School of Drama, Rohini’s name is familiar yet is hardly seen in current Bollywood films. Metrolife asks her the reason for her absence from Hindi cinema, while she was in the City to receive an award at the ‘4th Aadhi Aabadi Women Achievers Awards 2012’. “Amitabh Bachchan ki maa banne ke baad ab Amitabh Bachchan hi dada ka role kar rahe hain to mujhe kon role dega?” she jokes and adds, “I am doing television these days. A small budget film of mine David, is also coming up and another one in Marathi is on its way too. But in Hindi movies there seriously are not many roles.”

Rohini kick-started her acting career with Saeed Akhtar Mirza’s Arvind Desai Ki Ajeeb Dastaan in 1978 but was noticed only when post Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi where she played Kasturba along side Ben Kingsley. “I had worked in films and theatre before 1982 also but was noticed in Gandhi.” There was no stopping her thereafter but theatre never took a backseat. “Theatre meri karmbhoomi hai.” But since films garner much more money she feels, “Wahan se kamao aur yahaan lagao!”

A stalwart in Marathi theatre, Rohini shares that, “Marathi theatre has got a 100 year old tradition. It is so strong that you can survive on it even if you are pursuing only Marathi theatre. It is most unlike other theatres in India which solely cannot your provide bread and butter.” While she is happy about the state of Marathi theatre, its counterpart in Delhi upsets her, “People in the North tag theatre as ‘nautanki’. In the initial days of my career, people used to ask me about my profession. When I said ‘acting’ they replied, ‘Woh to theek hai par jeene ke liye kya karte ho?’”

Have you tried direction? “No. That is not my cup of tea. My husband was a theatre director when I met him and seeing him I know what goes into direction. Acting suits me the best,” she says and informs that soon she will be playing grandma to Mahesh Babu in an upcoming Telugu film. Why not Hindi films? “If something comes up to me which is different from dada, dadi or ma, I would definitely like to explore it.”

Her love for acting is evident but her love for her alma mater NSD is no less and she gets nostalgic and emotional about Delhi where she lived a considerable part of her life. “I miss NSD! Those years from 1971 to 1974 when I was in NSD were my best days,” she signs off.

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