Mithila Palkar’s Marathi cover of Anna Kendrick’s Cups song made her an internet sensation
I cannot understand even one word of what she is singing but this is probably the 50th time am listening to her in last 24 hours (sic), wrote YouTube user Deepak Kumar, in response to a Marathi music video by Mithila Palkar. Kumar isn’t alone. A large number of netizens who don’t understand Marathi have been enchanted by Palkar’s sweet voice and the song’s catchy rhythm.
Uploaded on March 11, the video went viral over the next 24 hours. Palkar covered the Cups song (popularised by American actor-singer Anna Kendrick in the film Pitch Perfect), by singing the Marathi number Hi Chaal Turu Turu to its rhythm. Her Facebook page went from having 5,000 likes to over 25,000 likes the very next day. Inspired by her, other people have also made their own versions of the Cups song.
Thanks to the video, the 23-year-old became an overnight social media sensation. Among her fans, she can count actor Paresh Rawal who tweeted his praise for the song. Palkar, who made the video for fun, suddenly found herself giving interviews to newspapers, TV channels and radio stations. The bubbly, curly-haired aspiring actor admits the sudden spotlight is unnerving but exciting. “I’m trying to get used to it,” she says. The video might just be the turning point in her career. However, her ambitions lie not in singing but in acting.
Back in time
Palkar’s first brush with acting was in class 7 when she participated in an inter-school drama competition. “It was a street play kind of performance though it was on stage. I was part of an ensemble cast. But I knew right then that nothing will give me the kind of high acting does,” she says.
Though a “nerd” throughout her school years, she was always involved in extracurricular activities — be it singing, dancing or dramatics. “Our school (IES’s Modern English School, Dadar) always encouraged us to participate in various events. I was a science student in junior college but I knew I wouldn’t pursue a career in the field.”
To be close to the world of theatre and films, Palkar chose to do her graduation in Bachelors of Mass Media (BMM). “My grandfather was hesitant about my choice of career and insisted that I finish my graduation. Having grown up with him, it was the least I could do.” By the final year of the course, she was convinced she wanted to make it as an actor.
Lacking any connection to showbiz, Palkar involved herself with the annual youth theatre festival Thespo. It was also a way of having a back-up career in event management. “It was the best year of my life. It helped me network a lot,” she recalls, adding that Quasar Thakore Padamsee and Toral Shah (core members of Thespo) have been her mentors.
Before jumping into acting full-time, the Dadar resident did a crash course at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting in Los Angeles. Returning to India, she was summoned by an acquaintance from her Thespo stint, for an audition. Palkar bagged the role of a dominating sister in the Imran Khan-Kangna Ranaut starrer Katti Batti (2015) and made her big screen acting debut.
Palkar has also been a part of commercials for brands like Maggi noodles and Tata Tea. She is also seen in videos by the lifestyle portal FilterCopy — Confusing Things Girlfriends Say has over a lakh views while its follow-up, Annoying Things Boyfriends Do has over 97,300 hits.
While bagging a role in Bollywood may be the goal for innumerable budding actors, Palkar is keener on the Marathi entertainment industry. “I have grown up watching Marathi plays and craved to be a part of it. There’s some great work happening in that space. And Marathi is my mother tongue; there’s a certain comfort level speaking in it,” she says. In 2014, Palkar was seen in a Marathi short film, Majha Honeymoon, which made it to the Mumbai Film Festival.
Going ahead, she hasn’t chalked out a plan of action but is certain of one thing — the internet is the place to be. So, more videos are on the cards. Currently training in Kathak, she also wants to learn to play the sitar this year.