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Hands full Amol Palekar
Hands full Amol Palekar

Amol Palekar is ready with his first children’s film “Dum Kata.” He speaks to RANA SIDDIQUIabout this and more

So, the man, we barely get to see at award functions, film launches or in advertisements isn’t actually out of job. In fact, he is busier than many others. So, even if we didn’t see Amol Palekar for long, he was busy doing what he loves most: theatre and filmmaking. He has just completed two important tasks.

One is the theatre festival he organises every year in Pune, and the other is a film for children. He also snatched time to attend the documentary and short film festival in Bhubaneswar, organised this week by his long time friend, painter Jatin Das.

Held under the banner of the Jatin Das Centre for the Arts (JDCA), this documentary film festival has become a path-breaking event.

Says Palekar, “Unfortunately, the films have completely overshadowed documentaries. Organising such a festival is a daring effort. It would gather like-minded people and benefit the audience in the long run.”

Palekar has always worked at his own pace. He has just finished a theatre festival in Pune that he has been organising for five years.

Annual pilgrimage

“I do it without the help and support of the Government, which is a very difficult task. It has become like an annual pilgrimage for the people of Pune. It actually started as a homage to stalwarts in the world of theatre. The first one was dedicated to Badal Sircar, the second to Vijay Tendulkar and the third to Ratan Thiyam. The fourth one was to the sangeet-natak tradition of Maharashtra. Many veterans turned up. It was beautiful to see that the youngest in the crowd was 70 years and the oldest, 97 years old!”

Palekar doesn’t make it unpalatable as many theatre festivals turn out to be.

He not only traces the journey of the playwright he dedicates the festival to, but also contemporises their old or the latest play to attract the audience.

“It is usually a retrospective show with a focus on the progression of the playwright and his plays.”

Not that Palekar could ever disassociate himself from films. He is making a film on Jatin Das, his senior from his art college days, and he has just finished a film called Dum Kata.

“It is a children’s film but meant for the whole family. Its story, dialogue and screenplay are penned by Sandhya (his wife) and it is directed by me. It has scintillating music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and its songs are penned by Gulzar. The film would be released in the middle of this year,” says Palekar, refusing to reveal the story of the film.

If his admirers miss him on the screen, they will do so in future too, for he doesn’t feel the urge to act again. “I have said many times that I became an actor by accident. Yes, I am a good actor, but a very reluctant one. I left acting 17 years ago and I don’t miss it at all. I have diversified into other related fields and I am enjoying it thoroughly,” says Palekar rather unassumingly.

About films

But that doesn’t mean he has stopped watching films. He has been following the field closely. “I loved Johny Gaddar and Laga Chunari Mein Daag. I don’t care for what critics write about the film. What do they write anyway? They write the film’s story and the last paragraph says this or that actor is good or bad. Is it a review?” he challenges.

Palekar finds today’s films technically superior but adds, “In some techno-high films, the story is often missing. Maybe, all this technical razzle-dazzle is to make up for the lack of the story.”

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