Back in 1953, a child artiste came into the spotlight in the President Award winning film Shyamchi Aai. Now 77, Pune-based Madhav Vaze has scripted a rich career in theatre with occasional forays into cinema.
His penchant for the theatre developed as time went by and today he is acknowledged as one of its top personalities as both actor and director. He is also a former English lecturer at Nowrosjee Wadia College. Vaze who appeared in Aamir Khan’s 3 Idiots and Shah Rukh Khan Dear Zindagi. He also directed a Marathi production of Hamlet in 2013 which was a hit. Madhav Vaze and has him talking about his life and journey :
We met Madhav Vaze and share interesting details of his illustrious journey :
So how did your love for theatre begin?
I studied at the Nutan Marathi School in Pune where I took part in drama competitions. My acting was appreciated and when I was in the 5th and 6th standard I won the first prize in drama. The judges were Keshav Vaman Bhole and Jyotsna Keshav Bhole.
How did your in Shyamchi Aai evolve ?
When Prahlad Keshav Atre (Acharya) wanted a new face for this film, he contacted Keshav Bhole to find him one. He suggested my name and that was my big break.
Being still in school, was there any pressure on you when you took the role?
Not really since my parents supported me. The film was based on a story written by the great Sane Guruji. Acharya Atre was also a great man. I did not know about these famous personalities. When Atre came to my house, I was told by my father and uncle that he was not only a filmmaker but also a poet and litterateur.
How did you feel when , won the National Award?
This award was the first for a Marathi film. I felt proud. Working with Acharya Atre was a great experience. I learned so much from him. During the awards ceremony, I met another great Marathi film personality, V Shantaram, and that was a great moment in my life.
So why didn’t you take up cinema as a career after the success of your first film?
I was not really interested in films. I got involved in a lot of dramas after Shyamchi Aai. Dramas are live and you cannot do a retake or rectify a mistake. I preferred to be a perfectionist and theatre seemed to be the way forward for me. I also got a chance to direct dramas too. I also became an international theatre critic. Now I am identified as a theatre artiste.
What made you to work in 3 Idiots?
The director, Rajkumar Hirani, wanted me to play the role of the father of one of the characters, Joy Lobo, who is a student with a passion for machines. The character commits suicide after he faces failure in exams.
I told Hirani I did not want the role. But they persuaded me to take it up as I looked like a Christian. The hero, Aamir Khan, appreciated my role and wanted to act in a play with me. Later, I agreed to do a role in Dear Zindagi.
What is your opinion about films today?
In the early days, technology had not advanced as much as it is today. There used to be a good storyline and lots of dialogue. We not only entertained but also educated the filmgoers. Today’s films are more about entertainment. The clever use of technology has become part and parcel of films, particularly Bollywood.
So how would you describe yourself after having done theatre, films after being an English language lecturer?
Well, I am everything rolled into one. When I worked as a lecturer, I found time to do work in theatre and also catch up with my reading.
You were born in Pune. How have you seen the city change?
Pune was a city of bicycles in the old days. Today, it is congested with two-wheelers, cars and the pollution level has soared.
But I still like Pune.
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