Nikhil Ballal

‘Apasra’ girl Sonalee Kulkarni became the heartthrob of Maharashtra by her scintillating performance in the film Natrang! Sonali became synonymous with the song and also a rage. She set the stage on fire and also left her fans mesmerized! Since childhood she always dreamt to become an actress. At the age of five she delivered her first stage performance leaving everyone spellbound! Her mother who happens to be Punjabi decided to make her an actress. They would watch films together and her mother subsequently used to stitch the clothes similar to that donned by the actress in the film. “I still remember after watching DDJ ( dilwale dulhaia le jaayenge) my mother presented me a dress similar to what Kajol had worne in the song Mere Khwabo Mein Jo Aaye, I wore that dress and gave some amazing performances.

Being a daughter of a Punjabi mother, I am completely filmy by heart. We are a movie buff! We use to eat, drink and breathe films. After watching Madhuri or Sridevi film, the next seven days I would be like them. I would dance and enact like them, smiles Sonali.

Sonali was good in academics too. After schooling, she had nurtured an ambition of becoming doctor like her father. While pursuing her science she was also performing and participating in various stage shows. It became so hectic that she finally opted to convert her passion into career. In her first year of college, she got her first break in the form of Marathi serial- Ha khel sanchitancha. She feels herself lucky that in her first assignment she got an opportunity to work with the veteran actor Vikram Gokhale. I was ecstatic to work with Vikram Kaka. He taught me ropes of acting. Had I not met him I couldn’t have made a career in film industry, admits Sonali.

Bakula Namdeo Ghotale was my first film. Kedar Shinde signed me on road! I was selected without auditions. Perhaps Mr. Shinde realised the prowess of the girl then.  It was a decent film at Marathi box office which fetched Sonali her first award as best actress too. Later on she was seen in movies like Hay kay Nay Kay, Aaba Zindabad, Chal Gaja Karu Maja, Chal Gammat Karu, Gosht Lagnanatrchi. But these movies performed moderately in Box Office.

Every film gives you something. Some give you friends, some awards, some only money while some teach you this art in a more better way!

I strongly feel getting a break is quite easy but to retain the success is tough. After series of flops, Rama Madhav came to my rescue. I could show my acting prowess through it and then I got a golden opportunity in the form of Natrang. My performance was acclaimed worldwide.

After every release I am very curious to know what my audience feels so I usually go to cinema theatre to watch my film. When asked are you not scared that people might recognise you on which she replied I enter the cinema hall once the film starts so it’s pitch dark out there. Usually people fail to recognise me when I am without makeup and wearing spectacles, chuckles Sonali.

When Apsara song started there was so much of noise in theatre that I couldn’t hear the song. As the song ended theatre got electrified with thundering applause. One of the audience shouted aare hi tar Madhuri aahe Madhuri. My joy knew no bounds. When people compliment you with an actor whom you idolize you can’t describe it in words. It was indeed the best day of my life!, smiles Sonali.

People appreciated my dance now I wanted them to accept me as an actor too. After Natrang, Sonalee was seen in the critically acclaimed movie Ajintha, and another multi-starer movie Kshanbhar Vishranti alongside Bharat JadhavHemant DhomeSachit PatilManva Naik. Her next release was Kedar Shinde‘s Irada Pakka where she played the character of Aadya opposite Siddharth Jadhav. She ended 2010 with another movie, Samudra where she worked with one more veteran Marathi actor Mohan Agashe. I have cordial relations with all veteran actors. They become my friends. Mohan Kaka and me are so good friends that he also shares his rare hat collection with me.

Fortunately, I got some really good scripts where I could showcased my talent. Till Mitwa people talked more about her natural beauty, but her non glamorous role in that film, her recognition for her acting skills and also afforded her critical acclaim.

Sonali has been a part of two 100 crores bollywood films Grand Masti and Singham returns. It was a great experience to work in Bollywood especially to work with Kareena, Ajay Devgn and Ritesh Deshmukh. They were fabulous. Bollywood respects Marathi actors. I experienced that myself during the shooting of these two films, says Sonali.

Sonali gave series of hits such as Shutter, Classmates, Poshter Boys and Time pass 2. Now she is all excited to see how her new movie ‘Tula Kalnar nahi’ fairs at box office. Starring opposite Subodh Bhave, the film is all set to hit the screens on 8th Septemeber.

It is a complete family entertainer commenting on current equations between couples. Sonali has taken special efforts for this film. She has a special hair cut and also has put on some fats to justify the role. Today many relationships are short lived. Cases of divorces have also increased. In this movie we talk about relationships and how one complicates his or her life with petty issues. Though the topic is quite serious but it is brought forth in a lighter way. Acting with Subodh and working with Swapna Waghmare Joshi was a treat. They guided me and made me feel comfortable, tells Sonali.

People will love the song ‘ Majha Hoshil ka’. It will turn out to be the most romantic song of 2017, adds Sonali.

I am a big fan of Priyanka Chopra. I can correlate with her. She also comes from Army background, has no godfather and is not attached to any camps. She has however achieved big success in life. Her thrust in international arena with Quantico and super hits with all biggies in tinsel town, Priyanka is role model for all young actors like me, says Sonali.

When asked what she would advise budding actors, she said one should have tremendous patience in this industry. It is not easy in the days of cut throat competition. Sometimes you don’t get roles only because you don’t hang out with them. One should be firm and resist temptations. Saying No is toughest job in film industry. Fortunately, my mother Savinder and father Manohar have been with me through my thick and thin. People have misconceptions that overnight you become famous and rich. But that is not the true story, the glamour, name and fame comes with lot of sacrifices and adjustments. Apart from mental stress, there is lot of physical wear and tear. One should be physically fit to survive in this industry, says Sonali.

Once you become a star lot of controversies hover around you and your family. Those are testing times. One should be able to deal with them tactfully, adds Sonali.

The petite actress has already taken giant strides and is all set to conquer the world, she always fascinated!



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