Film and theatre actor Makarand Deshpande, who will soon be in films such as “Sadak 2” and “Chicken Curry Law“, says he feels alive on stage, and never intended to become a filmstar.
Despite having shared screen space with superstars such as Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan and Akshay Kumar among others, Makarand never extensively pursued a Bollywood career.
” I never wanted to become a star, and always focused on acting. Yes, when an actor becomes a star, he does get more money and popularity, but, trust me, money was never my drive. Performance was. Stardom comes with the box-office result of a film. Technically that is not in the hand of an actor,” Makarand told IANS.
While he acknowledges the distinction of being a star and an actor, he hates the discrimination that often comes with it.
“No actor can say he is here for stardom. There is a distinction between (being a) ‘star’ and (an) actor, and I have no problem with it. What I do not like is the discrimination. An actor is a talented individual who may not be a ‘star’ but he or she deserves equal respect, because each character builds a story. All actors contribute to making a film,” said the actor who will soon start shooting for Mahesh Bhatt’s ‘Sadak 2‘.
“I think when I perform on stage, the audience is also performing with me, at some level. They react, at times loudly and at times in silence, as I deliver a dialogue, I pause between my lines, as I stand still, move, or let the light fall on me to create magic in my performance. The audience engages with me as I engage with the character. Theatre is where I live,” he said.
For this reason, the stage will always be Makarand’s first love.
“I keep doing films and television (shows) now and then. (I have) Nothing against those media, but the performer in me comes alive only when I am on stage,” added the 53-year-old actor.
In the film “Chicken Curry Law”, he plays a lawyer. The story revolves around a belly dancer who works at a bar and gets sexually harassed by an influential man. However, no police station is ready to register a complaint. Rather everyone from the police to lawyers question the girl’s character and motives.
The film aims at addressing moral policing and injustice, and Makarand said: “It is true that a conversation has started (about the safety of women), and therefore a certain amount of awareness exists among men and women. For ages, though, men were never told that ‘no’ means ‘no’. Women, on the other hand, were not taught about their rights, and their voices were always curtailed. Thus, most crimes against them were not reported. So the constant conversation is a positive sign. Having said that, we need stringent laws and strong punishment for criminals.”
Makarand feels power disparity gives rise to the manipulation of truth, in the case of crime against women.
“Our society is still patriarchal and so is the law. Many a time, truth is manipulated owing to power disparity. Criminals are not scared of the law. Hopefully, with time, that will change,” he added.
“Chicken Curry Law” also features Ashutosh Rana, Nivedita Bhattacharya and Natalia Janoszek.
Makarand calls Ashutosh a “versatile actor”, adding that he has been typecast in negative roles.
“He is such a good actor. Although he is a versatile actor, he has been typecast as a villain over the years. That is wrong. An artiste should get a chance to explore everything. Hopefully with this film, his image will change. I really liked working with him,” said Makarand, who has appeared in films such as ‘Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak’, ‘Sarfarosh’, ‘Satya’, ‘Makdee’ and ‘Swades’, among many others.