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A new innings

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VERSATILE First as a child artiste, then as an actor-director, Sachin's career spans over three decades
VERSATILE First as a child artiste, then as an actor-director, Sachin's career spans over three decades

Sachin had long branched out from Bollywood to Marathi cinema and tele-soaps. Now the seasoned actor, much recognised for that childlike smile, tells SANGEETA BAROOAH PISHAROTY that he would soon return to Hindi cinema

Think Sachin. And you automatically think of that cherubic smile with which the actor cast his magic spell on Hindi cinemagoers. Film after film. As a child actor, as a simple-minded hero falling in love for the first time, as a talented character artiste. From the days of Jewel Thief, Waris and Sholay to those of Geet Gaata Chal, Trishul, Satte Pe Satta, Avtaar and Akhiyon Ke Jharokhon Se, Sachin spans a little over three decades in Bollywood, the 1960s, `70s and the `80s. Then Sachin Pilgaonkar branched out. To directing. By and by. The last he took directions in a Hindi film was in 1989 (Paraya Ghar directed by Kalpataru), but by then Sachin had already directed his first Marathi movie (Maza Pati Karodpati). He directed actors like Madhuri Dixit, Jackie Shroff, Pooja Bhatt and Vivek Mushran, etc. before leaving Bollywood to take up direction in Marathi films. With the face of young Sachin still imprinted in the mind, it comes as a jolt when the actor says, "Next year, I am turning 50."That you know is no age to put one's feet up. Particularly when you are Sachin, with multiple talents, with the ability to act, direct, produce and sing. So like a stream, parallel to the big screen, Sachin naturally took a keen interest in the then budding medium of amusement - television. As an actor in the 1980s Doordarshan series, Kahan Gaye Woh Log, and then, we all now know him as the man behind the successful comedy soap, Tu Tu Main Main madein 2000, which featured his wife, Supriya Pilgaonkar.

"Kadvee Khatti Meethi"

Sachin came back to the director's chair this past week with the launch of Kadvee Khatti Meethi, yet another comedy, on Star One. Says the actor-director, "Most people think that I am bringing back Tu Tu Main Main but this is no continuation of the series but a new one altogether." However, he has taken both Supriya and Reema Lagoo, his earlier cast, in Kadvee... "only because it becomes easier for the viewers to bond with known characters." The 8 p.m. show does look suspiciously similar to the saas-bahu comic scheming with teary-eyed husbands, albeit with a grandmother-in-law angle."But it is not an ostentatious saas-bahu soap," he hastens to clarify, in case you make the mistake of clubbing him with the rest of the brigade. Without any prodding, Sachin tells you what is wrong with our television these days. "Change is always welcome, but it should not overpower the medium. Change should not alter the medium. Television has always been looked at as a realistic medium, not like dreamy Bollywood, but it is fast changing into a box of melodramas," he rues. And yes, he insists he is not `playing safe' by casting two known faces in characters already familiar to the viewers, but because he already knows their work as a director. "I am like this. For instance, in my Marathi films, I always take Ashok Saraf as my hero," he says. "Also, I thought of it as a weekly because comedy is a difficult medium to sustain daily. Keeping that vibrancy for 20-25 days of shooting in a month is no easy task, and there is no point in rambling on when you have nothing much to present to viewers," he adds.With such deep involvement in the medium of television, and with one more of his Marathi films being canned, does that mean the end of the page for Sachin in the history of Bollywood? "Absolutely not. I am planning a Hindi movie. The scripting is on," he surprises you. The details are yet to be sorted out though he adds, "It will be a thriller and it will be out sooner than you think."His only regret is he "never took up singing seriously." The last he sang was in Aisi Bhi Kya Jaldi Hai. This also happens to be his last directorial venture in Hindi. Sachin did it 17 years ago. Did he take the title a tad too seriously?

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