Fortunate that I never had to struggle much for work: Atul
Mumbai: Actor Atul Kulkarni believes it's surreal that he has not only survived through the highs and lows of the industry but also never gone out of work in the last 25 years.
Kulkarni said though he has battled his phase of "uncertainty and survival" in the industry, he has been blessed with a consistent flow of work.
The actor first garnered praise as Mahatma Gandhi in the play 'Gandhi Viruddha Gandhi', which caught the eye of actor-filmmaker Kamal Haasan, who cast him in his 2000 drama 'Hey Ram'.
"I was extremely lucky because I got my first professional play within three months of landing in Mumbai. I did that in three languages. Kamal ji heard about the play and called me for 'Hey Ram'. That's how I got my first film. I actually didn't have to struggle that much to get work.
"There are phases in every actor's life, but my phases have been few and for a short period, where I did worry about the uncertainty and survival. But it never really reached an extreme stage," the actor said in an interview.
Kulkarni established himself as a bankable performer with films such as 'Rang De Basanti', 'Chandni Bar' and Marathi drama 'Natarang' among others.
Survival was a question that Kulkarni grappled with before he entered the film industry.
When he graduated from the National School of Drama in 1995, Kulkarni said he was clueless how his acting journey would pan out. The film industry looked like a distant dream and TV was yet to boom.
"Survival was on my mind, not only when I came to the industry but also when I went to NSD. I had no idea what I would do after passing out from college. The only accessibility I had was Marathi professional theatre. I had never ever thought of films because it was absolutely inaccessible to me. TV was not much at that time, there were no daily soaps. All of us had fewer chances."
His learning from the industry is that one doesn't require any "external motivation to act." "You are born with it and then try to learn the technique of the craft, which you slowly start enjoying. One doesn't need external motivation but what one does need is sustainability in the field.
"Can you sustain with pleasure?' That's important to know. It is not easy. There are very few lucky ones who get to do only what they want. Survival is extremely important. It's futile and wrong to only think about art."
The actor is currently seen on the second season of Disney +Hostar show, "City of Dreams".