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Sonali Kulkarni, 44, on playing 53-year-old Salman Khan’s mother in Bharat: ‘It is nothing unusual’

Actor Sonali Kulkarni, responds to her choice of playing Salman Khan’s mother in the film Bharat, returning to commercial Hindi cinema, and more.

bollywood Updated: Jun 12, 2019 19:30 IST
Naina Arora
Naina Arora
Hindustan Times
Sonali Kulkarni,Bharat,Salman Khan
Sonali Kulkarni at Bharat premiere in Mumbai. (Varinder Chawla)

Actor Sonali Kulkarni is riding on the success of her latest film, Bharat. In the Salman Khan Katrina Kaif starrer, she plays Salman Khan’s mother. And she has been talk of the Twitter town for reasons more than just her acting prowess. Well, in the film, the 44-year-old Sonali is mom to 53-year-old Salman — and that’s got some people to point out that despite the age difference in the real life, the female actor plays Salman’s mother. However, Sonali is not perturbed by such speculations, for there is “nothing unusual about it”.

“My roles are my choice. I have to stand by my choice proudly, which I do,” she says, “I am so touched with audience’s and critics’ observation. But I also played Hrithik [Roshan’s] adoptive mom in Mission Kashmir back in 2000 (laughs). Then for 15-17 years, I have had to never repeat that kind of character because I was offered Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya(2001), Dil Chahta Hai (2001), Taxi Number 9211 (2006). I am sure that variety will continued to be offered.”

Watch: Katrina, Salman dazzle at Bharat premiere, B-Town celebs attend

Regional cinema has offered me great variety than Hindi commercial cinema

“People will definitely comment, and they are absolutely right. but it’s not like every time it comes out of criticism, it comes out of concern also. At times, people say regional cinema has offered me great variety than Hindi commercial cinema, which I accept. I don’t think I would like to say, ‘How I wish Hindi cinema gave me this or that’. I am very grateful for the work that I am getting,” says Kulkarni, who has worked in Kannada, Marathi and Gujarati cinema.

Playing a 35 years old too

The actor was flying to Toronto for her play White Lily and Night Rider, where she plays a girl of 35 years of age, who is trying to fall in love, says she doesn’t have “anything to complain” as an actor. “But when people have their observations, I understand as it comes out of concern and warmth for me. I don’t take it as a nasty comment. So far I have survived on people’s support. Had they rejected me for doing the Italian film I did after Dil Chahta Hai..I would have understood, that ‘what a stupid move Sonali...you were doing so well in India, and then suddenly you went and did some English, Italian, and Telugu film. Are you a fool?’ Maybe that would have discouraged me. But people and critics haven’t done that to me. I take their observation with immense amount of dignity,” says the Singham (2011) actor.

Sonali Kulkarni in a still from Bharat.

Salman is a fabulous person, with a golden heart

On the camaraderie with Salman on the sets, she says, it was “amazing” to work with him and she was impressed with his professionalism. “I was pretty nervous because we have stories floating around of how he is star like, and how he does this or that, whether he will remember lines or come on time on the sets. But Salman had parked himself on the sets. He was fabulous with his lines. In fact he came up suggestions and improvisations. I really liked this vibe on the sets. Whatever people must have heard [on him] must have been there share, but I have seen a fabulous person, [has a] golden heart, extremely playful. I never saw him carrying the super star weight.”

The Poster Boys (2017) actor adds: “I really liked the story when I was offered this film. As anyone would think, I was a little unsure about how I will be able to carry it off. But the important fact was the actor chosen for this role had to suit both the parts. [She] had to look good as young Salman Khan’s mom, because those memories are very strong on screen, and gracefully be the real Salman Khan’s mom also. So, I quite liked this family.”

Choose work based on my instinct

Talking about what inspires her to pick up a project, Kulkarni says, “I have rarely said that I want to do this or that. I know what I don’t want to do. But my choices have been varied. I have been doing theatre, regional and International cinema. In mainstream Hindi cinema, you must be seeing me after a while. [But] I am ok with it, as the audience and the critiques have loved me for what I am doing. I like the confidence that audience [has on me], if Sonali is working, there has to be super-entertainment.”

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First Published: Jun 12, 2019 19:29 IST