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‘I want more people to know about Prakash Amte’: Nana Patekar
Debarati Palit Singh | Monday, 6 October 2014 AT 07:48 PM IST
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When Nana Patekar speaks, everybody listens — be it on films or life in general. It was no different when the award-winning actor visited Sakal Times office on Saturday to promote his upcoming Marathi biopic Dr Prakash Baba Amte: The Real Hero. By his own admission, promoting a film is a rare thing for him to do. The actor amused all with his repartees but also opened up on his association with the Amte family and how they have changed his life. The film, which is set to release on October 10, is directed by Samruddhi Porey and stars Sonali Kulkarni, Dr Mohan Agashe along with Nana. Excerpts:

You have known Dr Praskash Amte for almost 42 years. Was it therefore easy for you to get into the skin of the character?
Subconsciously, when you know someone closely, it becomes easy to play that role. It was easy to show Prakash’s behaviour, attitude, tone, how he will speak, though he is completely opposite of me. I am quarrelsome by nature while he is a quiet and calm person. It was challenging to restrain my tone and play his character.

But did you get to understand him (Dr Prakash Amte) better while playing the character?   
Not really. I have read the book Prakashvata (Pathways to Light) on which the film is based. I have known Prakash since the time he started living in Hemalkasa in the ’70s. So I knew how he started off and his life there. I had visited that place during those times. If you compare Hemalkasa then and now, it’s completely different. Back then, there were no roads in Hemalkasa and it used to take six to seven days to travel from one place to another. During rains, the area would be cut off from the rest of the world for four to five months. Through this film, we are telling the story of the Amtes to people. They have devoted their life for the cause of the tribals — the tribals who haven’t yet got their basic human rights. For the tribals there, Prakash and his family are no less than god.

During the launch of the film, you had said that Dr Prakash Amte is an inspiring soul. In what ways has he inspired your life?    
What you see today is an improved version of me (laughs). I had first met Baba Amte and then met his sons Prakash, Vikas and their entire family. After meeting them and visiting their family, understanding their work, I felt small in front of them. Even the third generation of Amtes — Aniket, Pilu, Munna, Sheetal — have grown up there and are now carrying forward the work. They do not want money, fame or awards. That’s the reason I am promoting the film aggressively. It’s very unlike me to promote films but I want more and more people to know about Prakash and his work.

Often in biopics, the actor playing the protagonist gets more attention. There is a danger of the focus shifting from the character to the actor. Did you make any effort not to overshadow Dr Amte’s character?
We made sure that the focus was on his work, not on me. Actually, the film is about Prakash’s work, so I didn’t even take an effort to look like him. As for not overshadowing, an actor has to be unassuming. Do away with the feeling that ‘Maine yeh role kiya hai’ (I have played this role). Also as an actor, you should make sure that it does not look laboured acting, else it is bound to show.

Did you show the film to Prakash Amte? What was his reaction?
Oh yes. You should ask him about his reaction (laughs). On a serious note, I told him that you have become a hero. But in reality, he was a hero since a very long time; sadly we got to know about his work and life so late.  

Is the film is releasing in three languages — Marathi, Hindi and English?
No, it’s releasing in two languages — Hindi and Marathi. We have English subtitles. I wanted to dub in English too but I am not very fluent in English. I can’t speak English the way I speak Marathi and Hindi. I can communicate but it’s with some effort, because I don’t dream in English! It’s not possible for me to improvise in English.


Dr Kusuma Kumari G - Saturday, 20 February 2016 AT 01:28 PM IST
Yes Dr Prakash Baba Amte was a great man

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