Neena Kulkarni: Marathi films are content-driven, people notice now

Veteran actress Neena Kulkarni who is constantly balancing theatre, film, television and OTT, feels it is great that regional cinema is being celebrated by the larger audience, beyond regions. She believes regional cinema, especially Marathi cinema, is always known for its content.

"Marathi films are always ahead of the time with story and experimentation of storytelling. In recent years, the number of films and budgets have increased. Marathi theatre is always very rich, so there was never a dearth of content. It is only now that people have started to recognise. I have been doing Marathi theatre and films for many decades. For us, back then the next step after theatre was films and not TV. Now, we get to explore interesting stories even in web series," Neena told IANS.

In Bollywood, the actress has appeared in films like "Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani", "Nayak: The Real Hero", "Hungama", "Paheli", "Hasee Toh Phasee" while her Marathi filmography includes "Shevri", "Gandha", "Mogra Phulaalaa", "Kulkarni Chaukatla Deshpande" to name a few.

Earlier this year, she featured in the short film "Devi" that shows the story of rape victims of different generations. The film also featured Kajol, Shruti Haasan and Neha Dhupia among others.

"Although I have worked in several Hindi films, over the past two years I did not work in any (Hindi film) because I am getting more interesting roles in Marathi (films). These days, I have noticed how people make ‘message-oriented' films. That is a positive change and I appreciate that but we must not go away from simple stories. There is something beautiful in simple stories about husbands and wives, children and parents, and simple human stories. They hold a certain sweet, happy feeling in the minds of the audience," she said.

"Under the pressure of making impactful cinema, we must not lose out on warm, sweet stories of life. A love story is as real any story of struggle," Neena signed off.

- Arundhuti Banerjee for IANS