The selection of The Good Road as the official entry from India to the Oscars has raised quite a storm on social media as well as in Bollywood circles. But, Sonali Kulkarni, who is part of the project, feels it is normal for filmmaker Anurag Kashyap to be upset and hopes the film will be released in theatres in Mumbai soon. Excerpts from the interview.
Your film — The Good Road — has been selected as the official entry from India to the Oscars. This seems to have upset a lot of people, including Anurag Kashyap. They were sure The Lunchbox would make it. What do you have to say about it?
I completely approve of what Anurag said. He is a dear friend and I don't think he has said anything indecent. He just said that he had hopes for The Lunchbox. It's okay to express your disappointment. He hasn't said anything against The Good Road. I have had similar feelings in the past. If my friends are expressing their disappointment and anger, I have to take it sportingly and support them.
We miss out on many good films as they don't get a proper release in India. Will The Good Road have a similar fate?
The film was released in Gujarat and had an average run there. It was appreciated at the London Film Festival and it won the National Award in the regional films category. So the film has spoken for itself and has definitely tried to create awareness. In Mumbai, the audience couldn't see it at that point of time. But hopefully my team will re-release the film after the Oscar fever so that audiences can watch the film that is representing India.
You are highly acclaimed in Bollywood as well. Yet we don't get to see you often in Hindi films.
There have been personal reasons. It was my choice. I have made India proud with each and every film I have worked in. I have always asked myself why I've wanted to work in films with such diverse languages. I've wondered if I was taking focus away from commercial Bollywood cinema. But the answer lies in this news of the Oscars. If I get satisfaction from my work, able to support my lifestyle and am still wanted in the Hindi film industry, then why not? Rohit Shetty chose me for Singham (2011). It made around `150 crore (at the box office). After that I did a Marathi film, Deool (2011). It was voted Best Film at the National Awards in the same year. Now I am part of The Good Road, which is heading to the Oscars. I am not apologetic about my choices.
What's your role in the film?
I am not the heroine of The Good Road. In the film, the heroes are a truck driver and two children. I have a major part, but I am not the film's protagonist. People don't know the other actors, so I am the film’s spokesperson. However, I don't want to take advantage of the film going to the Oscars. I am just a small part of it.