Thiruvananthapuram

IFFK 2019 | Anandi Gopal a turning point in his acting career

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Lalit Prabhakar recalls the preparations made for the movie

Gopal Joshi was the person who made Anandi lead the way for many women of 19th century India whose life remained cocooned in their homes and whose aspirations never got a chance to soar. To transform Anandi from his nine-year-old bride to the first woman to earn a medical degree in India, Gopal at times had to use brute force and raw aggression.

Portraying him in the film Anandi Gopal was hence quite a task for Lalit Prabhakar. “The character had several negative connotations to it and it could have boomeranged and earned the wrath of people who stood for rights. Luckily, the research on the characters of the film was precise and through first-hand letters rather than the umpteen novels and stories on Anandi written so far,” says Mr. Prabhakar.

The Sameer Vidwans movie, which joins the recent trend of Marathi biopics on change makers of 19th century Maharashtra, was shown at the IFFK’s Indian Cinema Now section on Saturday. Mr. Prabhakar was here to present the film.

Impressive oeuvre

The actor, who began his career as a theatre artiste and now has a formidable body of work in theatre, cinema, and TV behind him, finds the movie one that proved to be a turning point for him. “It was a huge learning experience. The character was so complex and sensitive at the same time that to portray him, a lot of understanding of the social milieu of Maharashtra and the caste and class equations that governed it was required. The man was an extremist who did not mind shaking the system and even abandoning his faith to bring about change. And he gave the freedom to his wife to choose and be what she wanted to be,” he says.

Mr. Prabhakar says he could identify himself with the role too, he being an atheist and non-conformist to some extent.

Having graduated in Computer Science just to keep his parents happy, he pursued acting silently till the time he brought home a government scholarship for young actors. After that, things worked in his favour, with him not having to play down the passion in him for acting. Now, he straddles many roles that come his way with ease, while still being a part of a group that does experimental theatre.

Displaying a reclusive streak, he says he does not seek help from trendy mediums like social media to help his career grow. Cinema, to him, is a place where he can experience and experiment. “I am an actor and there are no other adjectives to it,” Mr. Prabhakar claims. Yet, he has a special place for Gopal Rao. “It is the richness of the character. What about then, even now and for that matters for a long time to come,” Mr. Prabhakar says.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 10:30:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/anandi-gopal-a-turning-point-in-his-acting-career/article30233820.ece

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