Atul Kulkarni who will be seen as a police officer in Behaz Khambata’s new film A Thursday, talks about working with Neha Dhupia on the film and says they often feared she may have to go to the hospital in-between the shots. In a new interview with Hindustan Times, Atul also shared his experience of working on the new film that also features Dimple Kapadia. A Thursday will start streaming on Disney+ Hotstar from February 17.
Asked about the experience of shooting with Neha at a time when she was pregnant, Atul said, “I really wonder how she pulled it off because she was so pregnant. I mean, we were all wondering whether she’ll have to go to the hospital in between the shots. Or whether she will have to go the same day after her shoot. I completely admire that woman. She was going through so much, so much uneasiness and she was also shooting action sequences for the film. She would do all that in the rains, she’d be completely wet. I hugged her on the sets one day and told her ‘I admire you as a professional actor, hats off to you’. It was (very difficult).”
Asked about comparisons with Neeraj Pandey’s 2012 film A Wednesday, Atul said, “When people watch the film, they will realise that there is nothing to compare. I am absolutely not thinking about it (the comparisons). There is no similarity at all, no actors or directors, nothing (are same). It is not a sequel to A Wednesday, absolutely, it has nothing to do with that film. It just happens that Thursday comes after Wednesday.”
“Javed Khan is a very sensitive person. As the trailer begins, we wonder why a beautiful and simple teacher has kept her own students as hostages. Her first demand is that she wants to talk to Javed Khan. Javed is a very sensitive person, sensitive more towards the children. He also has the capacity to deal with multiple people on various levels. From his boss Cathy, her bosses, and even the prime minister is involved,” he added.
Asked if he faced difficulty in getting any traits of his character or any sequence right, Atul said, “No. Not at all. I think when the story and character are so well-written, nothing can be difficult.” He added, “It was a very tricky film to shoot. We had our entire set constructed at Raj Kamal Studios when we went into the second lockdown. Then, we had to stop and then it started raining in June and our entire set got destroyed. We built that again, and then the director chose the backdrop of the story as the rainy season because we were shooting in the rainy season. We had a lot of obstacles because of Covid-19, because of rains and sets getting destroyed and all but hats off to the production team and Behzad that they still pulled it off.”
Talking about his own journey, Atul said, “I come from a lesser-known city and no one from my family was in the profession (of acting). In fact, I faced a lot of opposition from my family when it came to joining the profession of acting. And, I started very late. My first film came out when I was a 30-year-old man. Considering all of that, I think I have done really good for myself. I have worked with the best of directors, best of actors, and producers. I have been continuously working for 20 years, in 7-8 languages. What more could I have asked for?”
Asked about his memories from working on the critically acclaimed Madhur Bhandarkar film Page 3, Atul said, “That was my third film with Madhur Bhandarkar. One dialogue I remember is ‘System ko agar change karna to system ke bheetar reh ke karna padega (You need to be in the system to change the system.) The film is quite close to my heart. It is a fantastic depiction of a certain section of the society and of course the press.”
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“I always get this from the audience that ‘we do not see enough of you’. Another thing that I hear is that people say ‘whenever we see your name on a poster, we know it will be something special’. That matters a lot to me,” he added.