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Article Marathi

5 years of Kaccha Limbu: Manmeet Pem recalls playing an emotionally draining character

Prasad Oak's directorial debut had also won the National award for Best Feature Film in Marathi. 

Sonali Kulkarni, Sachin Khedekar, Ravi Jadhav and Manmeet Pem in Kaccha Limbu

Keyur Seta

Well-known actor Prasad Oak ventured into film direction with Kaccha Limbu (2017). The film was highly acclaimed for its brave subject and sensitive depiction. It won many awards worldwide, including the National award for Best Feature Film in Marathi. 

Along with Oak, the film also catapulted Manmeet Pem into spotlight for his brilliant performance as a youngster Bacchu with an intellectual disability. The film followed a middle-class couple, played by Sonali Kulkarni and Ravi Jadhav, and their struggle to survive and co-habitate with their son (Pem) as he grows up. The film also starred Sachin Khedekar in the pivotal role of Kulkarni’s boss. 

Kaccha Limbu recently completed five years on 11 August. On the film’s fifth anniversary, Pem looked back at the movie that fetched him plenty of accolades. 

“As an actor, this film is very important for me,” Pem said in a recent conversation with Cinestaan.com, during the promotion of his last release Tamasha Live (2022). “The film opened many doors for me as an actor. Because of this role, I found a new perspective to look towards the craft of acting. This film will always be close to my heart.” 

The actor said he owed Oak, producer Mandar Devasthali, Kulkarni, Khedekar, Anant Mahadevan (who acted in a supporting role) and Jadhav, for their co-operation. “Ravi sir is like my father,” said Pem. “All of them took care of me like a [child] on the sets. I will never be able to forget their large-heartedness. They all got that performance out of me.” 

The actor shared that in order to get into the mindspace of such a difficult character, he used to leave the set as soon as a shot was over and sit alone in his room. “I also rarely used to have meals with [the crew],” added Pem. “Despite being such experienced actors, they never found it rude. They provided me with the space to do it my way and kept giving suggestions.” 

Kaccha Limbu review: 'Special' portrayals make Prasad Oak's film a must watch 

Pem admitted that playing such a character was very tough for him mentally and emotionally. After shooting the film, his emotions once burst out during an incident. “After the promotions, we had visited a special children’s school in Pune,” he said. “A girl from the school tied rakhi to me. I don’t know what happened to me then. I just started crying hysterically. People from the film had to control me. This made me realize that the character had affected my mind. I had connected a lot with the character.” 

There is another reason why Pem was able to connect with the character. “My aunt is a special child,” he said. “I spend a lot of time with her and take her out twice or thrice a week. I will always have a special place for her.” 

In India, actors get typecast in a role after they give a memorable performance playing a particular character and Pem too was slotted into the same category.

“After this film, I was offered a lot of roles of a special child,” he said. “It’s a problem that they soon categorize you. Till Kaccha Limbu people didn’t know that I can even do something besides comedy. I was expecting to get to play different characters after Kaccha Limbu. But it took four years for that to happen. All those films will release [eventually].”