Interview Marathi

I became an actor only accidentally: Nikhil Ratnaparkhi

Nikhil Ratnaparkhi speaks about his latest film Kulkarni Chaukatla Deshpande, his love for advertisements, and why he hardly visits theatres these days.

Keyur Seta

Nikhil Ratnaparkhi plays Avinash Deshpande in Gajendra Ahire’s Kulkarni Chaukatla Deshpande. In other words, the surname of his character is part of the title. However, the trailers and songs of the film, released over the past few weeks, have hardly shown him.

Asked the reason for the secrecy, Ratnaparkhi told Cinestaan, “My character is the surprise element in the film. That’s why he isn’t shown much. How the character is developed will be a surprise. Generally you don’t get to see such characters. Now what exactly is the surprise will be revealed in the film.”

He did reveal, however, that his character is unusually funny: “I play Sai [Tamhankar]’s ex-husband. He is rich. He lives by his own principles and doesn’t care what others say. His principles are old-world and appear comical in today’s times. It was during the narration itself that I realized this is going to be fun. He doesn’t have any addiction or affairs and he doesn’t use cuss words.”

Despite all this, his wife leaves him. “His principles are such that his wife leaves him," he said. "Though, seen from a distance, one might feel all is well with the two. They have money and comfort.”

The film is about Jaya (Tamhankar) who divorces Avinash and falls in love with Satish (Rajesh Shringarpure). Jaya and Satish are both single parents, each with a son from an earlier marriage.

Over the years, Ratnaparkhi has played quite a few supporting characters in films like Paheli (2005), Tere Bin Laden (2010), Mod (2011), OMG: Oh My God (2012), Narbachi Wadi (2013) and Ventilator (2016). In almost all his roles, he has displayed natural comic timing. Asked how he manages that, he said simply, “That is gifted. I don’t know how it developed.” 

In Tere Bin Laden

Hence, he always looks to play entertaining characters. “The character must be interesting and it should entertain the audience, irrespective of whether it’s in Marathi, Hindi or any other language. And if I get to do something different then it’s all the more better,” the actor said.

Interestingly, Ratnaparkhi was the first actor to play legendary humorist PL Deshpande in Gola Berij (2012). Recalling it, he said, “It was such an honour to play him. The thought itself makes you feel great.” 

Ratnaparkhi calls himself an accidental actor since he came to Mumbai from Pune to become an illustrator. “I worked as an illustrator with advertising agencies," he said. "I came to Mumbai from Pune for this, but I accidentally became an actor. Ever since I have been involved with acting.”

In Narbachi Wadi

He might be busy with movies these days, but advertisements continue to attract him. Ratnaparkhi says he must have done up to 400 ads till date. “I feel the skill required in advertisements is unusual," he explained. "There is the timing factor. Here I get a chance to use my skills as you have to tell a story in seconds or even micro-seconds. Sometimes you have to show four or five expressions in two or three seconds.”

Asked about the current scenario in Marathi cinema, he said, “I hardly see new Marathi films, so I can’t give an opinion. But going by the trailers I keep watching, I feel the technicalities have become superb and newer subjects are being tried. They look interesting.”

Ratnaparkhi confessed that in the days of OTT platforms, he doesn’t find enough motivation to visit theatres regularly. “I feel there is too much effort to go to the theatres to watch a film," he said, echoing the thoughts of many cinema lovers. "Plus, there has to be someone with you as I don’t like going alone. Because of OTT platforms, watching a film has become so easy. I see a lot of films there, including Marathi.”