Sharad Kelkar left the audience fuming with anger with his last outing Operation Romeo for all the right reasons. In the Hindi remake of the Malayalam film Ishq, he plays the role of greedy and villainous cop Mangesh Jhadav. Directed by Shashant Shah, the film was released in April this year, and later made its way to Netflix. Now the movie is all set for its world television premiere on &pictures on September 24. (Also Read | The Family Man 2: Sharad Kelkar says he was ‘mercilessly bullied as a child’ for his stammer)
Ahead of the TV debut, Sharad, who has been the highlight of the film, shares his apprehensions about the gritty, dark role. “After a few days of the film shoot, I went to Neeraj Pandey (film producer) sir’s office. I told him ‘mere se nahin ho raha hain, bohot mushkil hain (I can’t do it, it’s too tough).’ I even shared with our director that it’s a very difficult character and challenging for a person like me, because I don’t think even an iota of the incident. I said ‘I don’t know what I am doing. I’m feeling disgusted. log chappal se marenge mujhe (People will beat me up with slippers)’. Surprisingly, Neeraj sir said ‘if you are feeling so it’s working for the film.’”
The film spoke for itself after the release, especially when Sharad received the kind of responses he was expecting. “A lot of my friends called me after watching the film. Despite knowing who I am, they said ‘man kar raha tha ek chatta maru tujhe (I want to slap you)’. They were quite happy with my performance. Not that I was worried about the film. But, I was under a lot of stress during those 20-30 days of shoot, all because of the character but it paid off.”
Sharad doesn’t believe in method acting. “Every actor works differently. I’m a very impromptu actor. I don’t rehearse much because it tends to become mechanical.” But, did playing an intense character like Mangesh Jhadav affect him? “I was disgusted and felt very shallow about myself. The whole film was shot at night. After packing up, I used to think about what the hell I was doing on my way home. I am a father of an eight-year-old daughter. But then it’s the life of an actor; we have to go through the pain and process. It was quite painful for me.”
Operation Romeo has been called a mix of commercial and parallel films. When asked about personal preferences between them, Sharad said, “You don’t get to decide which film is commercial or which one is parallel. Sometimes films like Paan Singh Tomar, which nobody thought could be a commercial film, became a hit. Same as Gangs of Wasseypur.” As an actor, he doesn’t differentiate between commercial or art-house cinema.
Many believe Bollywood is going through a dark phase after the consecutive failure of Hindi films at the ticket window, while South films have excelled on the Hindi circuit. Does this mean there will be more South remakes to improve the situation? “South remakes have always been there. Right now it’s being highlighted because Hindi films are not working. But you will see not every South film is doing well in Hindi. In the past year, we had RRR, KGF Chapter 2, Pushpa and Vikram, which did well. Maybe Hindi commercial cinema is not working because of a lot of reasons.”
“In my personal opinion, in the last 2-3 years people have become used to watching content from home. We have to give them something extraordinary to pull them to the cinema. The habit of watching films in the theatre is gone.” The actor believes slowly and gradually things will fall back in the right place.
“A lot of technical aspects of a film can only be enjoyed on big screens. With Brahmastra, people are going to theatres. Vikram Vedha and Thank God are coming,” added Sharad. Amid mixed opinions about Brahmastra’s success rate, Sharad clarified celebrity reviews of a film aren’t important. “The actors will go and watch a film because they are friends. If the audience is going then the film is a hit. They make the film.”
Meanwhile, earlier reports suggested Sharad is likely to work with Prabhas again for Om Raut’s magnum Opus, Adipurush. He voiced Prabhas for his hit Baahubali series. He spilled the beans, “It is very early to talk about. I haven’t spoken much about it, so I can’t really comment. The rumours are rumours, they keep on floating. I don’t really know. It’s too early to even think about it. Dubbing comes much later.”