Sunday, June 1, 2008


Writer : Girish Karnad
Director : Lillete Dubey
Cast : Neena Kulkarni, Utkarsh Mazumdar, Ira Dubey, Suchitra Pillai, Rajev Paul, Amar Talwar, Seema Azmi, Deepika Deshpande, Raaghav Chanana & Armaan Sunny

A delightfully poignant tale of love & longing in a Shining IndiaThe "Wedding Album", Girish Karnad’s contemporary new play, explores the traditional Indian Wedding in a globalized, technologically advanced India . On the surface it's a familiar picture- a joyful event when members of the clan come together to celebrate and reaffirm loyalties, but behind the picture perfect smiles, simmer long suppressed suspicions, jealousies, frustrations and aggression. The play deals with a normal urban middle- class family : a daughter who lives abroad with her professional husband, a brother who is a software designer, a younger daughter happy enough to marry a suitable boy from the US she has never met, and then, of course, there is the doting mother and the loyal cook. A family, which is educated, liberal, and modern. Each snapshot shows its members frozen in a projection of respectability, but each figure has a double image, with the shadow of a hidden life. It’s a hilarious spectacle. And hopefully, both revealing and moving.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Contribution to Marathi Cinema

Classic Picks

There are no grandiose plays for affection, no melodramatic proclamations of undying passion - just the quiet dignity of two world weary characters (beautifully played by Shivaji Satam and Neena Kulkarni) finding strength and companionship in each other.
The story follows Raghu(Shivaji Satam), a widower who's recently returned to Mumbai for his son's wedding. While revisiting his old neighborhood, he seeks out his childhood friend, Durgi(Neena Kulkarni). The two rediscover their friendship, but their youth is a distant memory. Durgi was abused by her former husband and father-in-law and has become withdrawn and guarded. Raghu has also been affected by the unforgiving reality of adulthood, after losing his wife to cancer. Slowly, the fragile characters inch towards building a relationship, vacillating between Raghu's quiet optimism and Durgi's wary insecurity.
Journey to the Other side presents love in its most honest form, full of frailty, tenderness and uncertainly. Now, that is the ultimate romantic gesture.


Shevri by director Gajendra Ahire and actor/producer
Neena Kulkarni won the Government of Maharashtra's Sant Tukaram award for the Best International Marathi Film at the closing ceremony of the Pune International Film Festival 2007 Shevri is about life of a middle-aged woman. Circumstances forces her to spend a night on
Mumbai's streets. Her experiences and her story which unfolds in flashbacks is brilliantly interwoven to create a good movie experience. The star cast delivers great performances. The end is the predictable one, but a good, thought provoking movie for many reasons.

Sari Var Sari

Two Sisters born in a society that values conformity over independence. Their family and their surroundings was a constant Neena Kulkarni & Madhura Velankarreminder to them of what their place and aim in life should be.
Vini born with an intellect and a desire to work hard to achieve these limitations. But it is Mini who questions them.
Armed with a sensitive mind, boundless energy and a burning desire to make her own mark in this world, she refuses to be handed a predestined life. She has two choices; live the life that others chalk out for her, or tread own way forward.
Not content with her family's orthodox lifestyle and a future of being labeled' her husband's wife, she follows her heart and crosses all hurdles. But fame proves expensive. While her sister is applauded, Mini is scorned. She finds herself at the pinnacle of glory, alone without her father's pride or a pat on the back. Her once happy family is now engulfed in sorrow. Will her parents rigid attitudes prevent them from reaching out to her? Will the family ever be the same again ? Are familial bonds strong enough to overcome narrow minds and conflicting priorities?

This is the story of a doctor, who is young and intelligent, ready to take in her life with full enthusiasm. But for Neeraja, the protagonist, the things are not as smooth as for others. She has vitiligo, white patches in her skin, on her face especially.Though vitiligo is just the lack of a skin pigment, it affects the entire identity of a person. It is definitely not contagious and has not been proved medically as a hereditary disorder. After passing through the internal turmoil since her childhood, Neeraja has overcome her inferiority complexes. But the outside world is not as ‘human’ as it should be. Neeraja enters her friend Ananya’s elite and high society family as a doctor and every person in this well educated family is taken aback even with just the possibility of Neeraja becoming their family member.The story unwinds itself, portraying societal insensitivity and cowardice. On the other hand, it illustrates rationality emerging in younger generation about vitiligo.
Ananya is in emotional paradox penduling between the stereotypical preferences of the family and his own sensibility. The story ends on a positive note where he undergoes attitudinal change, driven by Neeraja’s confidence about her self image.

Savat Majhi Ladki- 1993
Director- Smita Talwalkar

A Comedy based on Infidelity!

A middle aged married doctor(Mohan Joshi) has an affair with his new doctor assistant(Varsha Ujgaonkar). Crisis strikes when his wife Beena(Neena Kulkarni) gets to know of this affair and decides to accept the muse gladly and get them married off, while she declares to retire as his wife! The confused couple have no choice left but to accept the offer and make a fool of themselves!

Coming soon- to be updated

Aai- 1996

Director Mahesh Manjrekar

Amhi Asu Ladake-2006

Director:- Abhiram Bhadkamkar

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Ek Packet Umeed

Imagine having the freedom to choose your family!

Umeed Bhavan is a family home for a group of women, who have come to terms with their unfortunate past and have started life afresh with a positive attitude that can never pull them down. ‘Ek Packet Umeed’ is a touching drama about the experiences and lives of these women as they unfold in Umeed Bhavan.

The story focuses on Ambika Dharamraj and 15 other members who have all chosen to make a change. Despite having undergone so much misery they now live a happy life in a home they can call their own and with a family of their choice! With a never-say-die attitude, each of the characters have taken it upon themselves to bring joy and happiness through the packets of food like masalas, aachar, papads, jams that they make and sell every day.

An ode to the women and their resilient spirit, Ek Packet Umeed is a show that is filled with every colour of life that you can Imagine.

Ambika Dharamraj (played by Neena Kulkarni) is the 50 year old Head of Umeed Bhavan. She has a strict demeanor with a strong sense of what she believes in as right and wrong and hence she is very fair and objective in all her decisions . At the same time she is extremely loving and caring towards all the women of Umeed Bhavan.

'Serials pay you to wait, not to act'

Kshama Rao, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, August 13, 2007

She has been an actress for 35 years. Born to a family of doctors (her father was the chief of J J Hospital's psychiatry department; her mother at 78 is still a practising doctor), Neena Kulkarni has been a quiet achiever.

Hindi films and serials fetched her recognition and financial stability; the Marathi-speaking audience has cherished her performances in the plays Hamidabaichi Kothi, Educating Rita, Gandhi Viruddh Gandhi and in films including Saavat Majhi Laadki, Uttarayan, Sari Var Sari and Nithal.

Her husband, actor Dilip Kulkarni, passed away five years ago. Recently, she made her foray into film production with Shevri (Wisp of Cotton). Excerpts from an interview:

Your first film as a producer did well...
Yes. It was a tribute to Dilip, he always wanted to produce films. I formed my company Upstage Film Company and am happy the film received critical acclaim.

How would you compare working in Hindi serials vis-a-vis Marathi serials?
I got into a Marathi daily Adhuri Ek Kahani two and a half years ago. I've done a few Hindi serials like Heena and Saarthi, Kayamath for Ekta Kapoor and now Ek Packet Umeed for Hats off on NDTV IMAGINE.

The budgets are remarkably different. Hindi serials are high on opulence and extravagance, but that also means wastage in terms of time, effort and money. Marathi serials have low budgets and are better organised. Once the sets and lights are ready, we shoot 13 to 14 scenes in a day .

(Laughs) I always say Hindi serials pay you to wait, not to act. Logic and content are still a valuable part of Marathi serials - though Adhuri was more like a Hindi serial, high on drama and camera movements. Marathi-knowing viewers reject a serial outright if they don't identify with it. They will not watch sub-standard stuff.

Why take on a negative role in Adhuri Ek Kahani?
When I was first approached for the serial, I knew they wouldn't do injustice to me, considering they know my body of work. I have always believed in following the instructions of my director to the last letter.

Once they had told me about Kalyani who masterminds everything in her family, I absolutely freaked out on the role. About two months ago, Kalyani was missing from the scene but now she's back.. rather it's her look-alike, a simple woman called Sharada. So after having a glamorous look, I am back to my simple jooda.

Apparently, initially you were uncomfortable with the Hindi TV set-up?
Yes I was because the shows are more youth-oriented. You're reduced to just one in a crowd. A stern look here, a smirk there and you're done.

Initially, it was difficult to accept the working conditions and the lack of good scripts, but I've realised one has to move with the times. TV is where all the action is today .

I tell myself, "Chalo at least the responsibility is not on me alone. I'm just one of the many characters. In Hindi I can't expect the kind of strong roles I get in Marathi serials."

What about Hindi cinema? How satisfied are you in that area?
I'm pretty happy in that area. I don't want to do altu faltu films any more. I've done enough of that. Now, I would rather wait for that one good film. Like, I recently shot for Ravi Chopra's Bhootnath as Amitabh Bachchan's wife. It's a cameo but it's a BR film.

I've had my share of good films like Paheli and Guru. I've worked with Mani Ratnam, Amol Palekar, Priyadarshan and Shankar.

Was it awkward for you to do a rather silly scene in the climax of Priyadarshan's Hungama?
(Smiles) Yeah where we are all electrocuted and someone kisses me! That was the first scene I shot for the film. I was so embarrassed that I called up Dilip and told him I'd landed myself in a soup. He told me that since I had committed to do the film, I should just enjoy the shooting.

At times, you should do a mad scene or two.. because it's not always to get something which is absolutely sensible.

What are your children doing?
My daughter Soha is assisting director Sanjay Surkar on his Marathi film. She was also involved in the production and costume aspects of Shevari. My son Divij is in his last year of college..he's studying commerce. I don't know whether he's interested in films.

I am not pushing him either because in our days, acting or any creative field was chosen as means towards self-expression. Today, it's become a hardcore business. Good looks and some PR skills are enough to take you anywhere. As for creativity.. what's that?

Do you miss a companion? Do you see yourself falling in love again?
I definitely miss a companion. I miss Dilip because they don't make men like him anymore. He was my best friend.I can feel his presence, I haven't changed anything in our house because I want him to be there.

As for falling in love, I'm progressive-minded, I'm not closed to the idea. Yes, but I'll have to admit that I've become a loner.



1. Paheli (June 24, 2005) (Released) ...... Sethani

2. Hungama (August 1, 2003) (Released) ...... Jeetu's Mom

3. Guru (2007) (Released) ...... tulsi ben

4. Nayak (September 7, 2001) (Released) ...... Mrs. Gaekwad

5. Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani (January 21, 2000) (Released) ...... Laxmi

6. Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai (June 7, 2002) (Released) ...... Gayatri Sharma

7. Rahul (April 6, 2001) (Released) ...... Mrs. Singh

8. Badal (February 11, 2000) (Released) ...... Soni'S Mother

9. Kehta Hai Dil Baar Baar (November 15, 2002) (Released) ...... Kamla Patel

10. Dum (January 24, 2003) (Released) ...... Saraswati Shinde

11. Ishq Hai Tumse (January 2, 2004) (Released)

12. Dhaai Akshar Prem Ke (September 29, 2000) (Released)

13. Daayraa (1996) .... Widow... aka The Square Circle

14. Purush (1993)

15. Shaadi Karke Phas Gaya (2006)

16. Kuch Tum Kahon Kuch Hum Kahein (June 28, 2002)Sunanda Singh

17. Kyaa Dil Ne Kahaa (June 28, 2002) (Released) ...... Esha'S Mother

18. Daag-The Fire (February 12, 1999) (Released) ...... Sushila Singh

19. Hum Ko Deewana Kar Gaye (April 14, 2006) (Released)

20. 7½ Phere (July 29, 2005) (Released) ...... Rati Pant

21. Kyaa Kool Hai Hum (May 6, 2005) (Released)

22. Bhootnath(to be released in May)

Marathi Films

Aai (1992)

Sawat Maajhi Ladki (1993)

Uttarayan (2005)

Sarivar sari(2005)

Shevri- Actor/Producer(2006)

Nital (2006)

Amhi asu ladake (2006)

Haach Sunbaicha Bhau(1992)


Hindi Theatre

Sambhog se sanyas tak – (writer,director- Pandit Satyadev Dubey)

Are mayavi sarovar- (writer- Dr. Shankar Shesh)

Aadhe adhure- mohan rakesh

Aah- Vijay Tendulkar

Doctor aap bhi- Ajit dalvi

Abe Bevakoof:- Pandit Satyadev Dubey

English Theatre

Educating Rita-Willy Russell

It’s all yours janab:- Bharat Dabolkar

Mahatma Verses Gandhi- Ajit Dalvi( translation:- Mukta Rajadyaksh)

Marathi Theatre _ Selective plays

Guntata Hruday He- S.N. Navre( 400 shows)

Hamidabaichi kothi-Vijaya Mehta (250 shows)

Mahasagar- Vijaya Mehta(600 shows)

Dhyanimani:- Chandrakant Kulkarni, Prasant Dalvi(500 shows)

Aai cha Ghar unhacha:- Gajendra Ahire( 300 shows)

Prempatr:- Abhiram Bhadkamkar (40 shows)

Naagmandal:- Girish Karnad, Dilip Kulkarni( 60 shows)

Dehabhaan:- Abhiram Bhadkamkar (200 shows)


LIC Jeevan Bima


HSBC bank



Coca cola

Tata Tea

Cadbury’s …

Looking beyond

Looking beyond