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6 years of Court: Chaitanya Tamhane didn’t want us to act, says Geetanjali Kulkarni

Kulkarni played the public prosecutor who argues the case against Vira Sathidar's Narayan Kamble.

Geetanjali Kulkarni in Court

Keyur Seta

Chaitanya Tamhane’s Court (2015) is remembered for the performance of Vira Sathidar, who died earlier this week. But the film also had a skilful and realistic performance from Geetanjali Kulkarni who played the public prosecutor Nutan.

With the film completing six years of release today, Kulkarni told Cinestaan.com that doing theatre, especially from a reputed institute like the National School of Drama (NSD), helped her a lot while playing Nutan. “Because of theatre, actors develop a certain temperament," she said. "It can be the temperament of doing rehearsals, taking on a storyline in a way or developing a tenacity.”

He was one of the nicest, warmest people I have ever met, says Chaitanya Tamhane of Vira Sathidar

Speaking about Tamhane’s direction in his first feature film, she said, “Chaitanya is a very demanding director. He has a certain way of working, which is very different. He takes a lot of takes. You might get tired but he would want it.”

Vivek Gomber and Geetanjali Kulkarni in Court

Kulkarni was willing to surrender to the demands of the director despite him being a first-timer. “If a director has visualized it, then it becomes my responsibility to deliver it," she said. "I have developed this temperament because I did theatre. For Court, we didn’t require that skill set. We required this temperament.”

Court is known for its realistic portrayal of the lower courts in the country and their functioning. It was for this reason that Tamhane cast a lot of non-professional actors in small roles. Highlighting this, Kulkarni said, “He was very particular that we shouldn’t act. It shouldn’t look like a performance. It should look like an everyday affair; something that keeps happening daily in the life of a common man. So we were doing a lot of takes because we shouldn’t show any excitement.”

She added that she did Court purely for its content. “I didn’t think about money for Court,” Kulkarni said.