Interview Marathi

Prasad Oak knows the language of actors, says Addinath Kothare on Chandramukhi

The actor plays a young and rising politician in the film which stars Amruta Khanvilkar in the titular role.

Addinath Kothare in Chandramukhi

Keyur Seta

Director Prasad Oak’s Chandramukhi sees Addinath Kothare essay the character of a young politician named Daulatrao Deshmane. The film is adapted from the bestseller Marathi novel of the same name by author Vishwas Patil.

Kothare told in a conversation that he agreed instantly to do the film as the script was fantastic. “The character of Daulatrao Deshmane is outstandingly crafted,” he said. “He is a passionate, hardworking and upcoming politician. He is going to be a cabinet minister. He is also passionate about his love for music and art and the beautiful folk artiste Chandramukhi (Amruta Khanvilkar). He sees the same passion, energy and love for art in her and falls in love [with her].”

Revealing a little more about the plotline, Kothare added, “When a to-be cabinet minister falls in love with a Tamasha artiste, the news hits the headlines. What happens next is the drama of this love story. It’s a beautiful musical love story. The music has been presented on a grand scale by [cinematographer] Sanjay Memane. Every frame of his is like a painting. It’s a pure theatrical experience. Such a pure and poised love story hasn’t come out in Marathi for long.”

Amruta Khanvilkar and Addinath Kothare in a scene from Chandramukhi

Chandramukhi also stars Mrunmayee Deshpande, who plays Daulatrao’s wife Damayanti.

Kothare has a lot of scenes with Khanvilkar. He said that apart from being a great friend, she is an amazing co-star. “Our tuning was superb from Day 1,” he said. “The energy she brings on the film or on the shooting floor is very infectious. That resonates with everyone.”

Kothare felt that Oak, under whose baton he worked for the first time, is an amazing director for one specific reason: “He himself is a brilliant actor. Because of that, he can communicate with his actors easily. He knows the language of actors. He knows how an actor thinks and perceives a thought. His suggestions and the way of telling you how the character is thinking and what it needs were beautiful. He could help us find our characters.”

Kothare said the team went through workshops for almost six months before the shoot, which happens rarely in cinema these days. “He [Oak] worked really hard on the actors and the film,” he said.

Oak, however, told Kothare to avoid reading the book on which the film is based before the shooting. “I was about to read the book, but Prasad said don’t,” the actor recalled. “Sometimes a book goes into a deeper avenue. It can go into many other characters and come back to the main storyline. But a film needs to be a little more streamlined because the audience is watching it for two-and-a-half hours and they need to follow the story.

“A book is a different art form. It is a descriptive medium while cinema is a visual medium. Hence, while translating a thought from a descriptive medium to a visual medium, it goes through a lot of changes. Chinmay Mandlekar is a brilliant writer, one of the finest we have.”

Addinath is the son of renowned actor-director Mahesh Kothare. Asked whether he receives any guidance from his father, he said, “His guidance is always there with me. We are more like friends. We chat and share secrets. He knows everything about me, what I am doing and dreaming of. I share everything with him and he does the same with me. We have these beautiful conversations, which sometimes end in arguments (laughs). But that’s the beauty of it. My family is my biggest support system.”

Addinath Kothare was seen earlier in Kabir Khan’s sports drama 83 (2021), where he played the character of former India middle-order batsman Dilip Vengsarkar. “It was a surreal experience just to be part of that project,” he said. “It was an educating experience to work with such fine actors and technicians. It has given me a lot recognition and widened the frontiers of expectation from myself. And we got to hang out with the [cricket] legends. I am getting great feedback now that it’s on OTT.”

Kothare was also seen in another Hindi project, the second season of Nagesh Kukunoor’s web-series City Of Dreams, last year. He played a young and idealistic political leader in that series. Having worked in Marathi and Hindi projects, Kothare feels there isn’t much difference in the working style. “I think the passion and hard work is the same," he said. "But the audience base is bigger [in Hindi]. Because of that, the budgets and scale are bigger.”

Produced by Planet Marathi and Golden Ratio Films and distributed by Sunshine Studios, Chandramukhi will be released in theatres on 29 April.