Actor Bhalchandra Kadam. Image Credit: IANS

Popular Marathi actor Bhalchandra Kadam says Marathi movies have been known for experimenting with interesting subjects and that the entry of Bollywood celebrities has brought attention to regional cinema.

Bollywood actors such as Ajay Devgn, Madhuri Dixit, Priyanka Chopra, Nana Patekar, Salman Khan and Riteish Deshmukh have either acted in or produced Marathi films.

“Marathi cinema has always been known for experimenting with interesting subjects and genres. It has a dedicated audience comprising not just Marathi speaking population, but also others who understand Marathi. We can say that the entry of popular Bollywood names has brought in curiosity and interest in Bollywood lovers to watch Marathi cinema,” Kadam, popularly known as Bhau Kadam, said.

Some Bollywood films have also been adapted from Marathi movies — the latest being Dhadak, the Hindi adaptation of the 2016 Marathi blockbuster Sairat.

Sairat was a very good movie which was liked by the audience. But when we talk about movie remakes, the first thing that comes to our mind is how the original movie was.

“Comparing an original with a remake is not justified,” said the actor, known for featuring in Marathi movies like Boyz, Half Ticket and Timepass 2.

Kadam has also featured in a Bollywood film Ferrari Ki Sawaari.

“I could not take more projects after Ferrari Ki Sawaari [released in 2012], because since then I have been occupied with TV shows and theatre. I was approached for one of the parts of Golmaal series but was unable to commit to the continuous shoot schedule owing to my prior commitments. Hence, had to turn down the offer,” he said.

He currently plays the lead in Zee5’s first Marathi web series titled Liftman.

“Digital as a medium is the future of entertainment and it is expected to grow further. Hence, we see a lot of veteran actors now shooting for the digital platform,” he said.

The series has been mostly shot in a lift. “At first, I wondered ‘Did I hear it right? Shooting in a lift?’ Then I was quite amazed by the thought of bringing alive lift stories from the point of view of liftman. Since this is a never attempted concept that Zee5 approached me with, I was ready to play the liftman.

“The storyline and dialogues were so quirky and comical that we spent most of our shoot time laughing. Comedy is not restricted to a particular place or a set,” said the actor, who is hailed as one of the best comedians in Marathi cinema.

The actor has seen many ups and downs in life.

“Initially, during my theatre days, I faced a financial crunch. There was one time when I had to go to Dubai and I had only Rs1,000 with me. Those days, we were literally living on my mother’s pension and it was not enough,” said Kadam.

“So, I decided to take up more theatre projects to support my family. I can say Fu Bai Fu [TV show] was the turning point in my life. Also, I never said no to any project irrespective of the size. Today, I am happy to play the lead role in the digital medium, catering to a larger and a different kind of audience,” he added.