A craft "can get rusty" if not practised enough - humble words coming from Amol Palekar. But the film veteran has his reasons for staying away from acting in movies for more than two decades, one being that "Hindi filmmakers are perhaps not missing" him.
"Why I am not seen in Hindi films? Ask the Hindi filmmakers. Probably they are not missing me, to be honest," Amol told IANS in an interview during a visit to the capital.
"But that's fine, absolutely fine. If there is someone who comes up with a good role, something which will once again excite me, by all means I'll do it, irrespective of any language, as I did when I was acting," said the 64-year-old actor, who is making a comeback as an actor with Marathi movie Samaantar.
Releasing on September 4, Samaantar is a tale about two parallel lives crossing each other in the twilight of life. The heart-wrenching drama has been directed, scripted and co-produced by his wife Sandhya Gokhale.
Surprisingly, the winner of three Filmfare and six state awards for Best Actor said he had "butterflies in his stomach right till the last day" of the film's shoot.
"I had lots of apprehensions for my acting...acting is not like swimming or cycling as is said and done...that's not true actually. A craft, if not practised enough, gets rusty," he said.
"But then there were two aspects to it. With Sandhya being my co-director, my performance was never a tension for me and then having such brilliant co-actors, including Sharmila, and a wonderful team around me, I could easily get away with not really struggling. It was a sheer pleasure (to act again)," he added.
Distributed by Big Pictures, Samaantar (Parallel Folds) competed at the recent Bollywood & Beyond Film Festival at Stuttgart, Germany. Amol has co-directed the film.
"After a long time, something excited me and inspired me to act. I took it as a challenge, hoping that I am the best one to take up every nuance of the character and the complete range of emotions in an understated manner. I thought I could do it without underlining anything or being melodramatic," he explained.
"Even at the peak of my popularity in Hindi films, I have gone out of my way to act in regional cinema. I went and acted in Bengali, Kannada and did a film in Malayalam because I am a huge fan of Baloo Mahendra. So if something like that happens, yes, I will act again," he added.
A leading persona of avant-garde theatre in India, Amol wowed the audiences for over a decade from 1970 with his boy-next-door image in movies like Rajnigandha (1974), Chhoti Si Baat (1975), Chitchor (1976), Golmaal (1979) and Baton Baton Mein (1979) that carved a niche despite the larger-than-life heroes of that time.
Amol quit acting after his 1986 film Baat Ban Jaye to concentrate on filmmaking and theatre. He, however, did a cameo in the Amitabh Bachchan starrer Aks (2001).
Probed more about his absence from the big screen, he said: "Nothing really excited me, nothing was so challenging that came my way and fortunately there was no compulsion that I have to act.
"There is still no compulsion and this role (in Samaantar) does not mean that once again I'll open shop and start acting, certainly not until something excites me," asserted Amol who last made the Marathi Dum Kata (2008).
Amol has teamed up with his favourite actress, Sharmila Tagore, in the film. The actors are coming together almost after 30 years -- they shared screen space together in the Bengali film Mother that was released in late 1970s.
The actor, who is featuring in his own film almost 30 years after his directorial venture Ankahee (1984), was lured into Samaantar by the central character Keshav Vaze.
"Keshav is at the pinnacle of his success and professionally a very successful industrialist. His days are very hectic with board meetings and all, flying in and out, but at the end of the day he is a very lonely man and this melancholy amongst the din and hustle bustle is what fascinated me."