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Spit fire and shadows

Sonali Kulkarni

Breaking away from the stereotype of the glamour dolls that crowd acting profession, Sonali Kulkarni is a breath of fresh air who refuses to let ever changing masks rule her. .

Relentlessly naked in a sea of baroque artifice, never breaking character, yet comfortable in her skin, Sonali Kulkarni uncurls with a sultry sensual laziness in front of the camera. And naturally, reborn each time in front of the sacrosanct camera.


She responds with an easy candor about her profession and its expectations, "Spontaneity! One word that marks my trip in front of the camera. Playing a part that I am convinced about wants me to linger in its skin, infusing life into it. Each part is a guide, a friend...not a trans fixation or an obsession with it! Though, the spurts of portrayal unveiled before the lens is infinitely more challenging as compared to an exhausting characterization in a play. Maybe that is the only time when one wants to rise upto the expectations that people have from the character.."


In a sea of gyrating clones, Sonali has arrived as a real actress, with her debut in Girish Karnad’s ‘Cheluvi’, Moving onto intense portrayals in ‘Mukta’ and ‘Doghi’ and then the lead in Lamberato Lambertinis's ‘the Vrindavan Film Studio’, Sonali has refused to play the clinging or dumb girlfriend heroine leads in tear jerkers that Bollywood churns out. 


Poised on the threshold of commercial cinema, Sonali wants to essay roles of substance as she  puts it bluntly; "I am a selfish actress. Silent, in between shots trying to imbibe and interpret every detail of the character or trying to play it through my director...Quiet similar to a piece of clay that has to be molded by my director. And I like to be the play the character in totality. From mannerisms to clothes to stance.."

Reflecting on her persona, Sonali asserts, "Friendly. Sincere. Hardworking. But behind all that grit and the warmth of my personality, is a Sonali who is crazy, funfilled, yet sensible. I feel like I am two sides of a coin. And my spirited side is always clamoring to emerge.I perceive my characters as people who have helped me go through myriad emotions. From a doctor in 'Band Jharoken' to a protagonist returning from USA in 'Mukta', it is learning, experiencing different thoughts...Which would have been difficult to feel as just Sonali."

And like Sonali's persona, her attitude towards life is a reflection of her personality - simple! "I feel lucky to be able to live my life as an emotional journey. It excites me. And I am unafraid to gather it totally in my arms and enjoy it all! It is like a canvas of experience, where one can pick out the right shade to enjoy and celebrate its existence! There is no fear about what tomorrow would bring, only a strong awareness of my responsibilities!"

In a five year span, Sonali has already reached at the top rung of the parallel cinema ladder. She talks confidently about the future. "I am absolutely committed to my work. In fact I believe, ‘it is my time’. As an actress who is in her twenties I am shedding my insubstantial shades and cashing in on my work opportunities with a gamut of different hued roles, talented directors, different personas and different ages.!" Aware of breaking barriers with her performances, Sonali is quick to point out that she is aware of the long way ahead! A laughable thought as it brings into mind immediately, her clutch of films in the pipeline like Dr. Ambedkar where she faces the camera along with veteran actors like Mamootty and Mohan Gokhale, as well director Jairaj’s Malyalmam film with Mohanlal.
Sonali Kulkarni... Innocent, Unmasked.... Just Sonali!

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