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Sonali Kulkarni recalls her first interaction with Sulochana Latkar

Kulkarni will essay the role of Sulochana Latkar, Kashinath Ghanekar's mother-in-law and co-star, in his biopic Aani... Dr Kashinath Ghanekar.

Keyur Seta

Director Abhijeet Deshpande’s Aani... Dr Kashinath Ghanekar, is a biopic on the late iconic theatre and film actor Kashinath Ghanekar. While Ghanekar's character will be played by actor Subodh Bhave, the character of Sulochana Latkar, Ghanekar’s mother-in-law and co-star, will be essayed by actress Sonali Kulkarni.

At the trailer launch of the film, Kulkarni spoke about her very first interaction with Sulochana Latkar, as a newcomer. “I had to take support of those memories while playing the character. I had just passed out of college and was struggling in Mumbai. I had a small room in Vile Parle, which I had stylishly named Studio Apartment. I had a pager and the house owner Mr Satam’s landline phone,” Kulkarni said.

One day, she recieved a call from Sulochana didi, as she was fondly called, “The voice from the other end said, ‘This is Sulochana didi here'. You can imagine my reaction. I couldn’t say anything after that. She said, ‘I saw your performance in Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar (2000) and I liked it a lot. Keep doing such good work'," Kulkarni recalled, adding that she had to control her tears even now while narrating the incident.

Kulkarni was moved by this gesture and believes the great, established actress had no reason to personally call and encourage a newcomer. “She must have searched my number by asking few people and enquiring about me. And she didn’t praise in the usual way. Every word had a weight and importance. The way she said, ‘Keep doing such good work.' I felt this is beyond praise. There was a different expectation in this phone call,” she said.

Although Kulkarni was overwhelmed when offered the role to play Sulochana Latkar onscreen, she was worried about doing justice to the character. “When Abhijeet offered the role, I felt I won’t be able to do it because Sulochana tai will be watching the film. How is it possible for any actress to play her character in front of her? It was a big and difficult task for me to play her character. She had met me in real in a different era than what we have shown in the film,” she said.

Kulkarni also touched upon the difficulties Sulochana Latkar faced while enjoying the star status. “It was like a test in itself to know the kind of storms she weathered and did such hard work for her family,” she said.

Aani... Dr Kashinath Ghanekar will be released on 8 November during the Diwali holidays.