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'Sadashiv Amrapurkar never stopped enjoying his craft'

By Subhash K Jha
November 03, 2014 19:01 IST
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'Sadashivji said he did Hindi potboilers to keep his kitchen running. Marathi theatre was his life.'

Bollywood pays tribute to Sadashiv Amrapurkar.

Veteran actor Sadashiv Amrapurkar, who breathed his last in Mumbai earlier this morning, was an artist par excellence. Several people from the film industry, who worked with the late actor, pay tribute to him:

Sadashiv Amrapurkar and Nawazuddin Siddiqui in Bombay Talkies

Image: Sadashiv Amrapurkar and Nawazuddin Siddiqui in Bombay Talkies

Dibakar Banerjee, director of Bombay Talkies

Who knew that my story in Bombay Talkies would become Sadashivji’s swan song?

I am so glad I worked with him in the movie.

At that time, Sadashivji was very busy in Marathi theatre and his social activism. But I was adamant. The character was that of a doyen of Marathi theatre and Sadashiviji fit the bill. If I had made the film 20 years ago, I would have thought of Nilu Phuleji

One day, I was discussing his character with him when he began sharing his theatre experiences, how friends who once gave up theatre because it was not lucrative wanted his help to return to it.

All the years of being in Marathi theatre and his personal interaction with colleagues who chose to go into other professions were used in the film. 

He even wrote his own lines to suit the character.

He gave so much of himself to the role that I was left speechless.

When we started shooting, Sadashivji would come fully prepared. The only distraction was the emu bird that played a character in the film. Every time Sadashivji would say his lines, the emu would go and stand next to him. Nawazuddin (Siddique) and I would burst out laughing. 

Sadashivji said he did Hindi potboilers to keep his kitchen running. Marathi theatre was his life. I wish I had time to work with him again.

 

Nawazuddin Siddiqui, co-star in Bombay Talkies

I was perhaps the last actor, who had the privilege to work with Sadashivji in Bombay Talkies. He played my guru, and that’s exactly how I felt about him.

Sadashivji was a very hungry actor. All good actors constantly crave for challenging roles, and he did too.

I could see that he was not well when he was shooting for Bombay Talkies. His health was failing but his passion remained undimmed.

I learnt so much about cinema and acting from him. He was a storehouse of knowledge. He brought all his experience into his character -- he played  veteran actor in Bombay Talkies. His love for the craft showed in every shot that he did.

I learnt the value of holding on to my dreams from him. Like Sadashivji, I was also under a lot of pressure to pursue a more lucrative profession than acting. But Sadashivji stayed on. He did all kinds of roles, and played all sorts of characters with equal passion.

Like him, I want to be an actor all my life. He never stopped enjoying his craft. That’s what I find most admirable about him.

Sadashiv Amrapurkar in Farishtay

Image: Sadashiv Amrapurkar in Farishtay

Anil Sharma, director of Hukumat, Elaan-e-Jung and Farishtay

I had gone to see him in hospital a few days ago. We thought he was going to recover.

He played the villains in all three of my films, and he was one of the USPs.

It was the character in Hukumat that made him famous.

Before Hukumat, Sadashiv had largely done theatre. This film got him mass popularity.

When I decided to cast him, there was all-round objection. People asked me how I could cast a scrawny actor like him against the larger-than-life Dharmendra.

I remember he was very awkward wearing the boots that his character was supposed to wear. A simple man, Sadashiv had always worn chappals. I had to give him one full day to get acclimatised to the boots before we shot.

More than the actor, I will miss the man. He was so knowledgeable about theatre, cinema, art and life. When we met, we never discussed films, only literature. Whom am I going to have those discussions with?

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Subhash K Jha
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