Raksha Bandhan Special: Sonali and Sandesh Kulkarni & how often it’s the sister who is doing the protecting…

Probably your first childhood buddy to your partner in crime, from the endless pranks to the constant blamegames, all this defines every brother and sister relationship. A day to rejoice this special bond – Raksha Bandhan is celebrated with much fervour and excitement. The festival of Rakhi Purnima or Raksha Bandhan literally translates to ‘the tie or knot of protection’. An ancient Indian ritual which symbolises a sister’s love for her brother and his lifelong vow to protect her. This Raksha Bandhan, Pune365 catches up with film and theatre actress Sonali Kulkarni and her brother Sandesh Kulkarni as they speak about their cherished bond and their plans for this joyous occasion.

18Aug_Sonali Kulkarni with brothers Rakhi Story - old pic
Playtime as kids: Brothers Sandeep and Sandesh with Sonali Kulkarni

Being the youngest in the Kulkarni household, Sonali grew up with two older brothers Sandeep and Sandesh. According to Sonali, she could not have asked for anything better than having both of them by her side since childhood. “My brothers mean the world to me. They have been the perfect role models while growing up and the knowledge I have imbibed from them is boundless,” she adds. Attributing most of her success to her brothers, who have pushed and encouraged her to create a mark in her forte which is acting she says, “Sandeep is my hero. He is the visionary of the entire family who also pursued me to attend drama workshops. As for Sandesh who himself is a director, he has made sure my roots in theatre always remain strong. They are my pillars of strength.”

Resonating her thoughts, Sandesh reveals how during Sonali’s early days of acting he would accompany her to the sets to provide support. “Acting was relatively new for our family so I would go with Sonali just to give her assurance and be there for her. Right from then to the time she received the national award,” he says.

On being asked about some of their fondest memories from childhood, both respond with the same one. Only difference being Sonali recalling it with cheekiness and Sandesh with playful irritation. “I remember playing cricket on my terrace. Sandesh would try really hard to teach me how to bowl but in vain, because of which he would get only one chance to bowl as I continued batting,” smirks Sonali. Reinstating her claims, Sandesh adds, “Yes, all I had to do was keep going downstairs to get the ball. Mind you, Sonali was a bossy kid.”

The carefree banter and playful fights over the years transformed into emotional bonds and professional ties. Sandesh has directed Sonali in a number of programmes and shows where she has played the host. Playmates to confidantes, their relationship has cemented over the years by the love and support they give each other. This being the true spirit of Raksha Bandhan, Sandesh tells us why it holds a special place in his heart, “When I was young, the idea of getting a rakhi tied by my sister was very much romanticised. It was a moment of pride when I thought of myself as a saviour of my sister. As we grew older, the roles were reversed many times. My sister is a strong woman and there were situations in which she would stand up and protect me.”

With their busy schedules, celebrating Raksha Bandhan does sometimes pose a problem. But, Sonali makes sure the love and gratitude she feels towards them is conveyed. “There have been times when I have been in such a hurry due to work, I would tell Sandesh to sit in my car that would be waiting under his building and quickly tie the rakhi. It helps that we live in the same city. As for Sandeep, he’s always travelling so it’s a little harder,” she explains.

This Raksha Bandhan will be a grand celebration according to the talented duo. “I will make sure I drop by at Sonali’s place and get my rakhi tied,” smiles Sandesh.

Zeenat Tinwala

Zeenat Tinwala

She’s our Employee #1 and is often the first to come in and last to leave office. And she’s an accomplished kickboxer. Stay clear! zeenat@pune365.com
Zeenat Tinwala