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Sitting pretty

Mrinal Kulkarni, popular face on telly, talks about her roles

A PRETTY face, a pari and a woman who means business... Mrinal Kulkarni's popularity has zoomed on the telly. She is the Son Pari every child would want to befriend. Chants of Didi, Aunty fill the air and as she talks there are kids waiting to click photos with her. This is just one of the roles the talented Mrinal Kulkarni does. Seen over many satellite channels in serials now being telecast such as Jeet, Aarzoo Hai Tu, Avantika (Marathi) and Zindagi Teri Meri Kahani, Mrinal is happy to be doing television. "It gives me so much popularity and the opportunity to perform under good directors," she says.

"Medium has never been a bar for me," says Mrinal who started from theatre. Her first serial Swami (Marathi) was a huge hit. "I was picked up for it when I was in high school." She has done meaty and diverse roles - historicals (Draupadi, Meera), fantasy (Sonpari) and socials (Chattan, Hasretein, Sparsh). "I've been lucky to portray different roles." Ask her about Jeet and she says, "Jeet is on a sensitive plane. I play a professor who has a past (which is not revealed yet but she lets us into a secret). The character I play is actually married into a rich family. She suffers the abuses of her husband and she runs away with her son. I portray a near, straight and ideal in one part, while actually her life has gone haywire. People are chasing her curiously."

Sonpari has run for three years on telly. "Nobody thought that such a kind of fantasy would work as children these days are above it but Nina Gupta (producer) believed in it and the success is evident."

"Arzoo hai tu is more on a dramatical level - there are twists and turns." Mrinal Kulkarni is happy with her role in the Marathi serial Avantika (Zee Alpha) as "it is a thought-provoking serial to do with the rights of the woman - a more activist kind of role. The role in Zindagi teri meri kahani is a psychological one."

Mrinal has a point of regret "When I started TV was sensitive, it's a factory now. It is sad. What we watch on TV is just entertainment. I feel every Indian should check how much time he spends on watching this kind of entertainment. Does he/she really need so much?" She exhorts "actors/directors/producers should get more responsible. Parents should be more responsible and monitor their children watching TV."

Mrinal is also the editor of a women's magazine called Maitrin in Marathi. "It is a bold and meaningful magazine which makes women think and I get a chance to interact with women from the State," says Mrinal who did her Masters in Linguistics.

She balances her acting with painting, trekking and listening to music though she wishes time permits her to do more. Her future plans - "I may shift to direction and production." Does she plan to do films? "TV is fulfilling so far."


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