‘It is the best time to be a performer,’ says Sonali Kulkarni
Actor Sonali Kulkarni talks about her role in the play, Mirror Crack’d, the current theatre scene, and more
Making her on-screen debut in 1992, actor Sonali Kulkarni was first seen in a Kannada film titled Cheluvi, which was directed by Girish Karnad. Since then, she has appeared in many films including Dil Chahta Hai (2001), Taxi No. 9 211: Nau Do Gyarah (2006), as well as several plays.
We caught up with Sonali, who is currently performing in Mirror Crack’d, the Indian adaptation of Agatha Christie’s iconic story. The play is a murder mystery that takes place in a famous but fading actor’s villa in Goa.
Excepts from an interview.
What can you tell us about your character in Mirror Crack’d?
In the original story, the character is called Marina Gregg, and I play her. She is a famous film star. The storyline of the play follows a murder mystery, and my character is also involved in it.
You’ve been acting in theatre for quite some time now. How does it feel to be a part of such a big production?
I started [my career] with theatre and then I got into films. But so far, for me, both films and plays, have been going hand in hand. I’d never planned to do theatre or films, it just happened. I have always been instinctive about my choices. And this is the first time I am getting to work with such a fantastic crew. The last two months have been gruelling for us. They weren’t really rehearsals, instead it’s been a fantastic workshop, and I am so happy that I am working with a crew like this. There are many actors [in the play] with whom I had never worked with before. Shernaz [Patel] and I have been associated with each other, but this is the first time we will be sharing the stage.
What do you enjoy more — acting in theatre or films?
I think I breathe films and I eat plays, so they’re both very necessary (laughs). I can’t do without either. As I said, I haven’t been as meticulous and I haven’t ever planned my career. My shows keep happening. But there was a period when I was doing a play and I wasn’t shooting for any films at the time, and I am courageous enough to take those risks as well.
A still from the play Mirror Crack’d
But you do enjoy theatre a lot, don’t you?
It would be wise to say that theatre is my life. I am very happy with the way I’ve kept working in films because of which I got a worldwide audience. I have done commercial, art house, regional and international cinema, too. This matters because it only multiplies my theatre audience. Both theatre and films matter a lot to me.
Many actors move out of theatre because it’s not a well paying profession. What are your thoughts on this?
I don’t feel it’s right or wrong to be working in both films and on stage. One has to support their family, and so money is an important factor. It’s not wrong to be working in different mediums at the same time. You are pursuing your needs while also pursuing your passion. There are multiple shows now, and sponsors who are coming in. So, let’s see.
So, is theatre evolving?
Certainly. India is one of the few countries where we have original playwrights. There are original scripts. We have writers who write in many different languages. Groupism that existed in theatre is going away, and people are trying to collaborate. There have been fantastic directors and actors who have brought people together, and efforts are being made. It’s the best time to be a performer.