Actor Sharad Kelkar has worked with the late filmmaker Nishikant Kamat twice, in the critically acclaimed Marathi film “Lai Bhaari” and the Bollywood flick “Rocky Handsome”. For Sharad, “Nishi sir” was more of a mentor and a friend than a director. The filmmaker passed away on August 17 at the age of 50 after battling liver cirrhosis for the past two years.
He writes: I knew Nishi sir for the past 12 or 13 years. We had a common group and used to meet quite often. At that time, I was working television and he was making films. Whenever we used to meet, weekly or once in a fortnight, we use to have a lot of fun. We never discussed work. He was a senior and a good friend. Out of the blue, one fine morning he called me and offered me ‘Lai Bhaari’, and I instantly agreed to do the role. From then, things changed in my career.
He was extremely supportive on the set. When on the set, he would address me as sir. He had a habit of calling everyone as sir or ma’am. That’s a culture he followed. His behaviour towards everyone was very respectful. He was a disciplined person and had a good sense of humour. He was so confident about his filmmaking. I have never seen anybody in my life who is so clear about his shots, about what he wanted to make.
I worked in two films with him and it was a wonderful experience. I was an outsider, a guy from television he cast in one of the biggest films of Marathi cinema and also in the role of a parallel hero in a mainstream Bollywood film. It was a big deal for me. He did not think once also before calling me for ‘Rocky Handsome’.
Nishi sir was a person everyone respected whether they worked with him or not. His attitude towards life, his behaviour towards actors and other film fraternity members was so good that he earned the respect of everyone. He was a great guy and I have never heard anyone talking ill about him.
He was a man of his words who would always keep his promise. He would tell you what he felt on your face. We would chat for hours over a cup of tea in his beautiful office in Versova.
He is gone too soon. His death is a shock for everyone. I don’t know how it happened. Life is so unpredictable! For us it is a big loss. We had so many plans of working together in the future. I feel so shattered. This is a big loss for the film fraternity. We lost a brilliant filmmaker and an amazing storyteller.