Mumbai: In an exclusive interview with Xpert Times, Sukhada Khandkekar, a multifaceted artist whose life has been an intricate dance, choreographed by destiny itself. As we sit down with Sukhada, she unfolds her journey – a narrative adorned with passion, challenges, and an undying love for the arts.
A Date To Remember: April 1st
Sukhada Khandkekar graced the world on the playful date of April 1st, a day synonymous with pranks and jests. For Sukhada, however, it wasn’t just a day of jest; it was her day of birth, and it became a delightful playground for her friends and family to indulge in friendly teasing.
Growing up, the first of April became a unique blend of amusement and festivity, where her birthday was both celebrated and playfully mocked. Friends and family would descend upon her household, making her day memorable, albeit in their own mischievous ways.
Dance, Academics, and the City of Nashik
Nashik, the nurturing cocoon of Sukhada’s childhood, witnessed the budding of a young Kathak expert. Starting her dance journey at the tender age of five under the guidance of her revered Kathak Guru, Guru Rekha Nadgauda, Sukhada immersed herself in the world of rhythm and grace. What began as weekend classes soon intertwined with her daily school routine, showcasing her early dedication and love for dance.
The rhythmic routine of school, followed by dance classes, was a hallmark of her upbringing. This structure endured, even as acting workshops and Marathi theater introduced themselves during school vacations. These artistic endeavors became the soul of her younger years, shaping her into the artist she is today.
The Pune Chronicles: A Fusion of Skills
Post-graduation in clinical psychology beckoned Sukhada to Pune, marking the beginning of a new chapter in her life. Dance remained a core aspect of her identity, but the bustling city allowed her to delve into other styles. She ventured into salsa and various other dance forms, enriching her repertoire, all under the guidance of esteemed dance mentor, Subhash Dhang, at Young Talent Association.
Sales, contemporary, and Latin dance forms became her companions as she ventured into teaching and international dance competitions. Pune brought about a transformative period where Sukhada not only honed her dance skills but also explored diverse forms of art. It was during these years that she fortified her love for singing, writing, and styling – all intricately linked to her profession as an artist.
Marriage and the Mumbai Saga
A pivotal moment arrived in her life when she married Abhijeet Khandkekar, a distinguished figure in the Marathi entertainment realm. The transition from Pune to Mumbai was more than just a change in geography; it was a metamorphosis in her career. Mumbai, the bustling heart of the Indian film industry, held within its folds new opportunities and challenges.
Her acting career gained momentum, finding its stride on the Mumbai stage. The vibrant theater scene embraced her, and soon, the television and film sectors recognized her talent. Sukhada became a symbol of versatility, effortlessly slipping into various roles that showcased her prowess as a performer.
Beyond the Limelight: A Heartfelt Connection to Sarees
Beyond the applause and the greasepaint, Sukhada shared her deep connection with sarees. The elegance of the six yards of grace fascinated her, so much so that she began personifying each saree, giving them poetic names and sharing her journey with them on social media. This unique passion birthed the hashtag #PleasantFriend, creating a niche community of saree enthusiasts.
To Sukhada, sarees weren’t just pieces of clothing; they were her friends, each with a distinct personality. This creative expression allowed her admirers to glimpse her life in a more personal light, beyond the arc lights of the entertainment industry.
Philanthropy and Gratitude
Sukhada’s heart extends beyond the realm of the arts. She and her husband actively support organizations working for the betterment of autistic individuals and the disabled. During festivals like Diwali, they champion the cause by promoting and buying products made by these talented individuals, advocating for inclusivity and compassion.
Gratitude is a cornerstone of Sukhada’s life. She holds a special place for her admirers, whom she prefers to call ‘admirers’ rather than ‘fans.’ Every mention, post, or gesture of appreciation from them is cherished, and she ensures to acknowledge and reciprocate the love they shower upon her.
Embracing Challenges and Destiny: Sukhada’s Mantra
Like any artist, Sukhada has faced her share of challenges. In an industry often fixated on looks, she faced instances where her fair complexion affected her casting choices. However, her belief in hard work and the beauty of individuality propelled her forward. She emphasized that an artist’s journey is a marathon, not a sprint, urging aspiring talents to focus on personal growth and resilience.
Currently, Sukhada is passionately involved in a biopic portraying the legendary singer Manak Verma ji. The dedication she brings to her craft is evident in her approach – from meticulously studying the character to adapting her physique to match the era, she showcases the true essence of her artistry.
Addressing recent rumors, Sukhada clarified misconceptions regarding her radiant skin, affirming that it’s a result of a disciplined lifestyle and not pregnancy. This revelation, while humorous, sheds light on the importance of self-care and well-being in an artist’s life.
Sukhada Khandkekar’s journey is an inspiring saga of passion, dedication, and an unyielding love for art. Her story resonates with every aspiring artist, reminding us that in this chaotic dance of life, embracing one’s true calling can indeed create a beautiful symphony.