Be it his work in theatre, television or the Marathi and Hindi film industry, acclaimed actor and performer Dilip Prabhavalkar manages to garner attention and adulation from his fans and well-wishers. In the city recently to perform his famous Chimanrao te Gandhi Prabhavalkar left spectators in awe of the humble and talented veteran. The show was held to raise funds for Baba Amte’s ashram Anandwan.
The show is a huge hit here and abroad but Prabhavlkar chooses the venue and limits to perform only when invited by mandals (in any corner). “People would call me and enquire about the show. I would then show them clippings of my earlier shows and they suggested to convert it into a show!
I have toured the world with these shows. It is an informal programme and the duration depends on the clippings and spectators’ demand at that time,” says the prolific actor, who through the programme dons a variety of his popular and — now legendary —roles.
Prabhavalkar is considered a method actor who broke away from the conservative parameters of ‘acting’. He also tried and avoided being typecast in the industry.“I did get many offers to play Gandhi after Lage Raho Munnabhai. But the only time I repeated the act was in the Telugu version of the film, co-produced by Vidhu Vinod Chopra. Why should I repeat roles? Just for money?” he smiles. A mix of insight and a little help from the director is how he sums his method of approaching a character. “I have a simple formula — I have to be convincing and my character has to be accepted.”
Apart from films, Prabhavalkar has created classics for the theatre scene too. His play Hasva Phasvi is one such example where he plays six characters (including the bizarre but highly likeable Indian expat from Africa). “When I penned the play, I kept the ‘actor’ side of me in mind. But an acquaintance gave me the confidence to create the play and it worked. It was so well-received that I had the ‘Housefull’ board put up several times. Dr Shreeram Lagoo wrote a letter of appreciation. He had seen it twice.”
Despite the appreciation for the play, he is in no mood to revive it or have anyone bring it back on stage. “I feel that everything has a saturation point and one should stop before it reaches there. You should have a strong reason to put it back on stage. I have even refused to play Aaba Tipre again. I know when to stop.” For those ignorant, Aaba is a character from his popular television serial where he is the grandfather in a family.
A prolific writer, the seventh part of his children’s book Bokya Satbande is now in its 15th edition. “The pressure to bring out the next three parts of the book by May is tremendous!”.
At the end, he adds, “I am an introvert. My work made me an extrovert. Expressions become a shield.”
You can catch the show again on March 24 at New Karnatak High School, Near Mehendale Garage at 6 pm
Notes of an actor
Prabhavalkar’s take on some of his famous roles
• Chimanrao: People still remember me by this name. Even non-Maharashtrians know my character. My co-actors I became stars overnight — it made my beaurucratic hassles easy! I am a natural actor but this character was a caricature I used a high-pitched voice through which the character tries to gain attention. We would shoot once a month. For one whole day, we would roam around with our make-up and get into the skin of the character. By evening,with the make up removed, I would try to find the real Dilip Prabhavalkar.
• The witch from Albatya Galbatya: This was my first female character and I used an even higher pitched voice than Chimanrao. When I made an entry by first putting my head out, the kids would get frightened but later, at backstage would check out the ‘witch’.
• Naati Goti: This play helped me break free from Chimanrao and gave me the confidence to do serious roles.
• Chaukat Raja: I was to play Dilip Kulkarni’s role and Paresh Rawal was to be the mentally challenged man — a role I took on. But I was hesitant but Sulabha Deshpande assured me to go-ahead. I used a little observation and some imagination.
Copyright 2008 Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd. . All rights reserved.