Sachin Khedekar is most remembered for his impactful roles in films in Astitva (2000) and Bose: The Forgotten Hero (2005). The actor, who has largely restricted himself to Marathi cinema lately, says he’d like to see the regional industry flourish like Bollywood.
And as his upcoming film, Aajacha Divas Majha, approaches its release this week, he is concerned that the Ajay Devgn starrer Himmatwala, which hits theatres on the same day, might give his film tough competition. He speaks to us about his upcoming release, the Marathi film industry and more:
Why haven’t we seen you in more Hindi films?
They don’t have scope for supporting characters anymore. The kind of roles I used to do, heroine’s father or hero’s brother, used to be interesting. But they have stopped coming my way. For filmmakers, there’s always an Anupam Kher, a Rishi Kapoor or a Vinod Khanna to pick from; these are names I can’t fight. Now, I want to play lengthy roles in Hindi films. My friends keep offering me small parts but if you are a small actor in Bollywood and you are offered a smaller part, you feel even smaller.
How do you strike a balance between Bollywood and Marathi cinema?
I never dwelled in one particular genre. For me, variety is the essence. There is a constant hunger for doing something new with different people.
Is there contentment among Marathi actors and filmmakers?
No. There’s a great discontent. We want to improve the budgets and attract a larger audience. Marathi filmmakers face tough competition from Hindi films. This is why we try to make films that are content-based.
How has your journey been so far, both in Marathi and Hindi films?
It’s been wonderful. I am essentially a Marathi theatre actor. I have always changed mediums and languages in search of an audience which is the only selfish motive I know, as an actor. I have worked in five languages and have tried to maintain the quality of my work, if not quantity.
How is Marathi cinema different from Bollywood?
They are completely different. Over the years, we have seen a lot of changes in Marathi cinema. We used to make around 20-25 films earlier; now we make about 70 films. The subjects are completely different. If you see all the successful Marathi films made in the last five years, you will see that no two films are similar.
Does the Marathi film industry pay well?
We put in about one crore and try to recover it. On the other hand, the Hindi film industry is like a megalomaniac; it fetches up to R200 crore. Their films are made on a large scale and cater to the lowest common denominator. They are full of stupidity, comprising of item numbers, fights, drama sequences, followed by a few songs. It’s a star-driven industry that cannot change.