Sachin Khedekar on playing Netaji in `Bose - The Forgotten Hero,' releasing this month.
TIME FOR RECOGNITION: Sachin Khedekar in Shyam Benegal's "Bose - The Forgotten Hero"
When Sachin Khedekar shaved half his head, his trademark moustache, gained some weight, especially on the face to conceal his prominent chin, sported those round-shaped glasses and then looked into the mirror, he "couldn't believe" how much he looked like Subhash Chandra Bose! His big, expressive eyes added to the effect. And here he was! Shyam Benegal's "Bose - The Forgotten Hero," actually a film on the life and times of this national hero, is slated for release this month.
And for 36-year-old Sachin, the euphoria of playing the national hero still hasn't died down. Says this able actor who essayed the critically applauded role of Shrikant, the husband of Aditi, opposite Tabu in "Astitva," ``This film is extremely important to me, because for the first time I am playing a historically important, real-life character who was not only a national hero but also an international figure. At the same time it is a great responsibility also."
And he carried the responsibility by reading every possible material available on Bose.
"I read his biography and research-based writings by Shama Zaidi, Atul Tiwari and Shyam (Benegal) Babu. Saw several documentary film shots on him by the Films Division, listened to audiocassettes to imbibe his way of speaking and concentrated on my Urdu. You would be surprised to know that he knew very good Urdu and spoke excellent English and Hindi. But His English was tinged with a Bengali accent. So to absorb that tone in my speech, I took classes from Sharnaz Patel in English."
And there is more. His make-up man Vikram Gaikawad, the head of the film's make-up department, was constantly giving shape to his "chin."
Besides, Sachin had to put on weight. Now the most important challenge for Sachin was to be accepted by the Kolkata audience.
"We started shooting at actual locations. We wanted the approval of Kolkata people for my face, because they are very sentimental about him. We met Krishna Bose, Shishir Bose and a couple of other relatives of Bose to know a few things that are not yet documented: his mannerisms, conduct and behaviour at a certain moment of time. It took us one-and-a-half-years for all such research," recalls Sachin whose test to appear before the Kolkata press and public "went off very well."
With Sachin are Rajat Kapoor, Rajpal Yadav, Pankaj Berry and others playing important characters, besides a German and a British actor.
Liberty to act
Though Sachin took care to make his portrayal of Bose as authentic as possible, he agrees that Benegal gave him "a lot of liberty for acting."
To quench his thirst for substantial roles, this engineer-turned actor worked in television serials. To satisfy his hunger for artistic expression, he is involved in theatre still. He also has Ashwini Dhandekar's thriller "Siskiyan" in which he is playing an editor, in Mahesh Bhatt's "Virudh" he is a cop and one more film where he plays the villain.
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