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Films I shot for over the past two years are being released one after the other now, says Sayali Sanjeev

In an exclusive interview, the actress speaks about her latest release AB Aani CD and explains why she thinks Marathi cinema is ahead of Hindi.

Keyur Seta

Sayali Sanjeev seems to be becoming the Akshay Kumar of Marathi cinema. No, this has nothing to do with the kind of roles she has been playing. It’s just that she has a film or two coming up every month since December, all of them featuring her in leading roles.

After Aatpadi Nights (2019), which was released in the last week of December 2019, Sayali Sanjeev has starred in Daah, Mann Fakiraa and AB Aani CD in just two and a half months of 2020. (AB Aani CD was released on Friday 13 March but has since been pulled from theatres with the government ordering cinema halls and malls to be shut to counter the spread of the coronavirus.)

That’s not all. She has Goshta Eka Paithanichi, Basta, Satarcha Salman and Jhimma also coming up this year.

Asked about the apparent deluge of films starring her, Sayali Sanjeev, in an exclusive interview with, laughed and said, “After I did a TV serial, people used to ask me what I am doing next. I shot for a lot of films in the past two years after the TV serial. It’s just that all those films are being released one after the other, which gives a feeling that I am doing a lot of films.”

With so many films in her kitty in such a short career, the question about her criteria for choosing projects was an obvious one. “It is always the story,” she said. “If you like a story, there is no reason to say no to a film. I don’t believe in looking at a lot of things before selecting a film.”

Being cast in AB Aani CD was like a dream come true for the young actress. Last year she had seen a news report on television about Vikram Gokhale and Amitabh Bachchan featuring in the film. “While watching the news I wished I would get a chance to work in such a film. And that same evening I got a call from our EP [executive producer] asking if I would like to work in this film! I re-checked and asked if he was talking about the same film. I met him and my casting was done,” she said.

Expressing her excitement at working with Bachchan, she said, “Maybe after working for four or five years I would have dreamt of working with Bachchan sir. But here I didn’t need to wait that long.”

AB Aani CD revolves around Gokhale’s character. The veteran plays a senior citizen who is constantly being ill treated by family and outsiders, until they learn that Amitabh Bachchan was his classmate at school and wants to meet him.

Thanking director Milind Lele and production house Planet Marathi, Sayali Sanjeev admitted that she was initially apprehensive about working alongside powerhouses like Gokhale and Bachchan. “But they were so sweet and took care of us newcomers,” she said. “Our time gets spent just looking at them. They are institutions in themselves. We learn certain things just by observing their body language.”

In the film, Sayali plays the manager in the event-management company that is organizing the event that Bachchan is to attend. “The character will be relatable to anyone from the creative world," she said. "She does something in the film for the sake of friendship.”

The young actress believes that Marathi cinema scores over Hindi cinema because of its content and its artistes. “In Hindi they rely on six-pack abs, good looks and less clothes," she remarked. "Such things aren’t seen in Marathi. That’s why I don’t like watching Hindi films much, except films of Ayushmann Khurrana and Rajkummar Rao as they are exploring different content.”

Sayali said AB Aani CD is the kind of film that can be seen with one's parents and grandparents and that it will attract those people to the theatres who generally don’t like watching films, like her father. “My father doesn’t like films and he never visits theatres," she revealed. "But if we get such films, then he will visit. Plus, this film is also for the theatre and TV serial audience.”