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Interview Marathi

My character in Soyrik is a representative of the patriarchal mindset, says Virat Madake

The young actor opens up about the shooting experience, how he chooses his projects and the impact of lockdowns and the pandemic on newcomers like him.

Suyog Zore

Virat Madake, who rose to fame with Sujay Dahake's Kesari (2020), where he played the role of a struggling wrestler, is back on the big screen after almost two years with Makarand Mane's Soyrik (2022), which revolves around a conflict between a newlywed couple and their families. The actor plays a supporting role as a freshly recruited police constable.

Madake opened up in a conversation with Cinestaan.com about his character, the experience of shooting for the film, how he chooses his projects and the impact of lockdowns and the pandemic, especially on someone like him whose career had only just started to gather momentum before the novel coronavirus played spoilsport. Excerpts:

You play a young policeman in the film. What can you tell us about your role?

You must have seen that police station in the trailer and on the posters. I play a new policeman who has just joined this police station. There is a female constable who has joined with him. You can say we are the narrators or anchors of the film who observe what is happening and sometimes give their opinions on it. Usually this trope of using two narrators is used in plays; you don't see it often in movies. So this is an innovative thing you will see in Soyrik.

When they join the police station, a different picture emerges before their eyes. And it's a picture of two newlyweds arguing against their families.

The role of the female constable is played by Pratiksha Kote. So these two are new entrants as well as peers. They have successfully crossed one of the important stages of their life and joined the police force. Now that they  are both settled, they are looking forward to finding a suitable bride and groom, respectively, and getting married. At the same time they feel an attraction towards each other.

Amidst all this, these newlyweds and their families arrive at the police station. So these two are observing the ruckus and giving their opinions on it. I represent the typical patriarchal mindset and Pratiksha represents the mindset of women. These two are analysing everything that is happening in front of them and commenting on it. You can say we are representatives of the audience.

This was your first project with Makarand Mane. How was the shooting experience like?

When I got a call for this role and got to know the story I immediately said yes. First of all, not many films were being made in the lockdown, many films were getting delayed or shelved, so getting a call for a film in such an adverse situation was itself a big thing. And the call coming from a National award-winning director like Makarand sir was a huge bonus.

I'm a huge fan of his work. I absolutely loved Ringan (2017). And when we began the shoot, I finally realized why he is such a renowned filmmaker in the Marathi industry. The whole process was unique and at the same time fun.

Virat Madake in Kesari (2020)

Before this film, you played a leading role in the sports drama Kesari (2020) where you played a wrestler, but here you are playing a supporting role. You have also played a supporting character in Ashleel Udyog Mitra Mandal (2020). So how do you select your projects?

When I signed on for Kesari, I didn't think of it as a lead role. For me, it was like any other character in that film. It was a relatable character and I was confident that I could do justice to the role. It's the same with Ashleel Udyog Mitra Mandal. I didn't mind that I had a smaller role in that film, as long as it was an important character.

Here also, even if I'm not playing the lead, my character plays a very important role in the film. The length of a character in a film is secondary for me. What matters is how intriguing that character is and whether I am able to pull it off. I don't think of myself as a hero or lead actor. I'm just an actor, and as long as I get interesting roles, even if they are supporting roles, I'm happy. I would like to be known as an actor rather than a hero. 

The film was shot on a single location on the outskirts of a village. What was that experience like?

Initially we were all a little sceptical whether we can manage it. But our producers handled everything without any issue. They made sure we didn't face any problem during our stay. We all stayed in a bio bubble till the shoot was completed. From our hotel room to our set, this was the only travel we did in those 20 or 22 days.

The thing that really came in handy was that our shooting location was on the outskirts of the village. It was an old wada [traditional mansion in Maharashtra] that Makarand sir and our art team converted into a police station. So we didn't have any contact with the outside world till the shoot was completed. Though we were far from civilization, I won't deny there was still some uncertainty, especially in the initial days.

How has the pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns affected Marathi artistes, especially younger ones like you whose careers had just begun?

Truth be told, it was scary. As you said, my career had just begun. Kesari was released in February and in March we all went into lockdown. As an actor you wish that people will see your work and give their opinions. Because you also learn from it. And I believe the constructive criticism of the audience is important because it gives you an idea about where you are going wrong and what it is that you are doing right.

But the pandemic and lockdown snatched away this opportunity from young actors like us. So obviously it was disheartening. But how you get up once again after going through so much in the initial phase of your career proves how strong you are mentally. Because it can easily push you into depression. 

Why should people watch Soyrik?

Those who are married or want to get married in the near future or want a partner in life will relate with this film. The film shows how a holy institution like marriage is now corrupted on so many levels that it has lost its holiness. And Makarand sir has presented a unique take on this whole scenario in Soyrik. In this film, he has dared to question certain customs that not many dare to question, and done so in an entertaining manner.

What can you tell us about your future projects?

I have done a Hindi film with Chhaya Kadam and Chittaranjan Giri. It's too early to reveal much about it. There is also a web-series. Talks are going on with multiple OTT platforms with regards to this web-series, so unfortunately I can't reveal anything about it for the time being.