Interview : Gauri Kulkarni

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No one in their wildest of dreams would have ever anticipated that the petite girl Gauri Kulkarni who enamored us with her innocent looks in popular singer Kunal Ganjawala’s album ‘Channa ve’, will emerge on the global sphere & strike gold with her debut venture FROZEN. Now her black & white film FROZEN, produced & directed by Shivajee Chandrabhushan is releasing today in Mumbai. This film has toured 30 international film festivals, receiving 18 highly acclaimed awards world over. The bubbly & charming Gauri is highly ecstatic on this occasion and shares her joy with us.

From a music video to an internationally acclaimed film FROZEN, how did the transition take place?
Well, I had no plans of getting into films; it just happened. Actually Shivajee Chandrabhushan who directed the ‘Channa ve’ video, approached me for his film FROZEN. The script was quite appealing, so I agreed to do it.

‘Ladakh enlivened Lasya in me …’

Elaborate on your character in the film. Also tell us what attracted you towards the same?

FROZEN is the tale of Lasya who is a fearless, rebellious girl living in Ladakh with her father (Danny Denzongpa) & little brother (Skalzang Aungchuk), who mean the world to her. She grows up watching a subtle evolution around her, when the army comes. She is caught in this endless, irreversible conflict, but manages to skate on thin ice, pursuing a complex dance with her new reality, as her very own name suggests.

Did you ever develop cold feet sharing the same platform with stalwart like Danny Denzongpa?
(Smiles) It was an honor to share screen space with a veteran like Danny, this being his 150th film. On the first day of the shooting , I was quite nervous but later he made very comfortable while enacting scenes.Danny showed no starry attitude, he was an absolute father figure, cool, calm composed, who guided me all along.

Since its an unconventional film, how did you prepare for the role?
Frankly, the peaceful & serene climate of Ladakh enlivened Lasya in me. I have also performed some stunts for instance rolling down the mountain slope or hanging upside down the truck, for which Shyam Kaushal trained me. We went to Ladakh one month prior to the shoot to get accustomed to the climate, Ladakhi dialect, their customs & way of life. Dressing up in those rich Ladakhi costumes was an absolute delight.

What makes you stand out as an actor?
I haven’t pursued any formal training for acting. FROZEN has been my ultimate training ground to prepare the actor in me. I would say my ardent fondness towards traveling; exploring distinct cultures whereby I’ve interacted with communities has taught me a lot in life .I also read a lot of fiction, autobiographical works which helps increase my knowledge about worldly matters.

view FROZEN movie stills

view FROZEN movie stills

There is a phenomenon that critically acclaimed films fail to sustain in the commercial arena in Bollywood. How do you think FROZEN will fare at the box-office?
Extremely arty with sync sound, absolutely no color, FROZEN has everything that a commercial film would never boast of. But we are not expecting a blockbuster either. We wish to touch people’s hearts. It will be a gradual process of attracting audiences through word of mouth. But I am sure we will create a special place in audiences’ hearts. The film is literally going places winning accolades world over. I have personally traveled to Rome, Greece, Spain & it has been a splendid experience so far.

Would you like to narrate some memorable scenes during the making of the film?
Towards the climax, there is a scene where Danny & I have an emotional interaction, towards the end of which he makes me sip on some tea, which I personally don’t really like consuming. It was done on purpose, but as the camera was rolling, I was forced to continue without any resistance. This instance brings a smile to my face even today.

CHECK OUT: FROZEN & the canvas of black and white in its vivacity

What next after FROZEN?
I am open to any kind of roles. After FROZEN, I have also acted in an art film KHARGOSH by Paritosh Kamdar. This film has made me more composed & patient as an actor. I am eagerly waiting to hear the responses of the people after the release of the film.

Though the film is based in the snow caped mountains of Ladakh, what makes it connect to audiences world over & gain appreciation?
The essence lies in the story & not the constraints of the place. We have aimed to somehow transcend the geographical boundaries As if inspired by the harsh climatic elements, an attempt to show the predicament and pain of a man, who lost in the snow is made.

What is the message the film chooses to deliver?
FROZEN marks to be an experiment with India’s niche cinema. Apart from direct reference to the snow clad areas where the film is based, it talks about the characters which are stark cold, lacking warmth in their interactions with one another .It also talks about the significance of openness of one’s mind though being confined within boundaries.

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