Sonali Kulkarni a prolific actress who has achieved success in the Indian film industry on her on merit and hard work. Her ability to reinvent herself and picking and choosing projects that go with times has served her extremely well. Sonali is an artist who has been comfortable acting in regional languages of India and being a part of international projects as well. Sonali – A Producer, An Actor, A Writer, A Humanitarian and Life Enthusiast.
Who/ What inspires you?
Nature. Any small expression of love or a gesture of gratitude, a smile, an assuring goodbye, a gentle hug, a letter, cooking, gardening, bonds, partial jealousy, that content breath when you exhale at the end of the day, good humor,style, grace.., cutting chai.. Anything n everything can inspire me.. I feel lucky to a human being and I celebrating life !
What is it that you seek in your career?
Probably all I was seeking was to choose the right course of action as a career. Once I felt confident about formally accepting the challenge to be an actor, I could feel my own sigh of relief.. I loved telling stories, I loved entertaining people around me, I loved making them laugh.. Since my young days I felt it was MY responsibility! What more can I ask for if I’m getting paid for it. My living has become simple because I can officially become somebody else hence off late I rarely feel emotionally exhausted. I don’t let my emotions boil enough to explode. I like the harmony I maintain with myself after being in the profession that I’m in, which itself is supposed to be self obsessed, narcissist and cruelly selfish. I find myself holding my soil n my soul. There is a beautiful tune I hum in my mind which nobody hears, nobody objects but they align themselves poetically with me.. Because I feel my free spirit, respect n gratitude – always gets translated in my actions, being n living. I seek that from myself n from my life..Career to is a part of it.. Hence, I’m always showered with immense warmth, true criticism n abundant love from people. I certainly seek this from my career and I must say I’m the wealthiest actor in that sense.
What is the best part of running your own Production banner?
Haha.. I get to pamper my stars and technicians, I plan comfortable travels, I fly all of them, I arrange feasts, I pay them a notch higher, together we celebrate each n every show and most importantly I’m not answerable to anyone. Being a producer always keeps me humble as I value people, their time n hard work. I’m nowhere close to lethargy as I have to initiate shows, plan publicly n marketing. It’s a different role all together- it has no glamour and a producer can ultimately make very basic profit if they running just a few shows like me- I have produced WhileLily & Night Rider in Marathi and Hinglish. I feel extremely proud in stating that when we were making the Hinglish version- I took a hard stand not change a single technician nor the lead actor- Milind Phatak. I do believe in their talent and I don’t feel apologetic for their Marathi accent or surnames. They travel with me across the world n learn new things, adjust to variety of Theaters n yet they deliver best of the result. Similarly with my other production- Karunopanishade, all my stars are extremely cooperative. Sachin Khedekar travels miles for this programme if he has committed us the date! My music director Narendra Bhide -once graciously refused to take the honorarium because he got to know that the show was not in plus at box office. These gestures give me immense strength to dream and be beautifully careless because I know the larger success. I see to it that I share the profit as n when possible. We recite legendary Baba Amte’s literature through this poetry programme. Each time myself n my team feel overwhelmed with his thoughts and mammoth efforts put together for the sake of humanity!Yes, it does feel proud that these fantastic creations are produced by me under my banner – So..Kul.
How important is investment to you as an independent working woman? (if you are comfortable taking this question)
Well this a very touchy topic ! I have royally burned my fingers at the beginning of my career. I dint know abc of investment or taxes.. Due to wrong guidance, I had ended up paying a superlative sum to the IT department- which I never thought I will be ever earning! I literally was in tears when I wrote that cheque, I had never written that amount, my hand was shaking. I took this experience with a pinch of salt because it was my hard earned money! Which I was paid for all those extensive travels, coping up with extreme temperatures, staying away from my loved ones, mugging up lines in different languages, for wearing/carrying all those extravagant costumes, learning the lyrics, rehearsing for songs n dances, dubbing tirelessly, reading innumerable scripts even if later I refused few of them, patiently waiting for my shots, tackling egos of variety of people, cajoling coactors, sharing my sincere opinions, missing out on important occasions amongst family/ friends.. More than acting one is paid for all above things! Hence, planning my money and investment matters much to me. I have a fantastic support from my CAs n my finance consultants. I take pride in being punctual while paying any installments or even taxes.
I have carefully invested my earnings in sensible options. I don’t fear or hate taxes anymore. In fact I wisely save. Be it property, bonds, insurance, my daughter’s future, family member’s health n wellbeing or my own retirement. I have designed it in a way that it will make not only me, my loved ones too count me as their guaranteed resource.
Do you seek a mentor actively? / Do you have a mentor? / Would you like to be a Mentor for new artists?
This is where luck matters! I was sheer lucky to come under radar of a maverick teacher- my dear Pt Satyadev Dubeyji. I had no awareness of choosing him, he spotted me n helped me unconditionally to overcome variety of cute teen age complexes I was happily comfortable with! He is my mentor! He taught me beauty of languages, speech, focus and much more about life. He was and will be my friend philosopher guide forever. He is the only miracle that happened in my life. To repay his debt, I guess I need to keep sharing his knowledge to as many as possible. I don’t hesitate doing that and thrive on encouraging the young talent. I have given my private scholarships to people to work in Theater, cinema or even to lose weight! But they are not advertised n are strictly private.
How important is social responsibility to you ?
Unfortunately That’s a clichéd term. We are born as social animals and are provided brains too., hence working for each other should come naturally to us. I belong to that category. I feel it’s my duty to the mankind and I do exercise my power, position, glamour at time for the same. It’s my own need. I feel I owe it to my nation and to our surroundings. Let’s drop the heavy word called society but it’s so sad to realise that after being the thinking creature- we are capable of creating violence and seek peace as a punishment! We must stop cruelty and generate joy! That’s what we are meant to do.
What are you passionate about as a person & as an artist?
I’m passionate about every possible thing but strangely I don’t feel possessive about it, I can part from it graciously! I feel extremely attached to the places where I shoot or rehearse! It’s a paradox that I always know this set will be destroyed once the shoot is over but I still gamble n get involved!
I feel possessive about the look of my character right from the footwear to the bag, from hairstyle to postures. I’m passionate about designing these different portrayals.
I’m passionate about cooking; I’m too fussy about not wasting any food or water. I like using less oil and lots of veggies in my dishes. In my daal khichadi I put maximum vegetables. I have invented variety of soups n salads. I’m very passionate about writing- you might have sensed it looking at my longish answers but I really love writing. Above all, I’m extremely passionate about spending time with my family. My daughter is my world. Its so much fun to deal with deadlines, bills, diets, workouts & fitness, cleanliness, politics and friends. I am passionate about living life to the fullest. Rest you may ask my hero, my darling husband- Nachiket Pantvaidya about my passion! I would like to end on the note that I am a passionate Indian and take immense pride in the diversity of this beautiful country.