Pune-born Sonali Kulkarni may not fit the image of a glamour girl. But when it comes to acting, she right on top among the current lot.
What makes her fascinating is that she has acted in Hindi, Marathi, Kannada, Gujarati, Tamil films and even in an Italian one. Her strong point is that she gets does great justice to the roles she takes on – from a revengeful wife to a thoughtful lover to even a tree.
She made her debut in Girish Karnad’s Kannada film Cheluvi where she was a woman with magical powers who could turn into a tree whenever she wanted. She made a big impact from the start and her choice of movies helped her to extend her repertoire and gain popularity.
Here are five films which reveal her wide range of acting abilities:
Cast: Sonali Kulkarni, Nirmal Pandey, Faiyyaz, Rekha Sahay
Director: Amol Palekar
Palekar explores the relationship between an out-of-work transvestite dancer and a young woman who has been brutally raped. The woman is now forced to dress like a man. Her friendship with the transvestite slowly begins to turn into love and the situation goes beyond society norms.
The transvestite handles the situation better as pressure from society builds. The ending is bizzare but Palekar has a message in that. Great acting by Pandey and Kulkarni makes the tale believable.
Agni Varsha (2002)
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Jackie Shroff, Nagarjuna, Raveena Tandon, Sonali Kulkarni, Milind Soman, Prabhudeva, Mohan Agashe
Director: Arjun Sajnani
A brahmin man Arvasu (Soman) loves a tribal girl Nittilai (Kulkarni) but she waits for permission from her parents and elders of her village to tie the knot. The area is drought-stricken so Arvasu’s brother Parvasu (Shroff) prays to Indra (Bachchan) for rain.
Parvasu’s wife Vishaka (Tandon) is having an affair with Yakavkri (Nagarjuna) and she later confesses to it. Meanwhile, Nittilai gets married to another man after Arvasu fails to come on time for marriage. More complications surface before they get resolved.
Cast: Sonali Kulkarni, Sayaji Shinde, Aryan Vaid
Director: Makrand Deshpande
The film deals with a landlord Raja Saheb (Shinde), who keeps a young girl Lakshmi (Kulkarni), satisfy his lust. But things begin to change when Danav the demon enters their lives.
The film deals with power, happiness, fantasy and lust. Deshpande has directed the film well and the fantasy and realities of life are captured very well. It was chosen for the Cannes Film Festival but later withdrawn after the director had doubts about the quality of the print.
Cast: Sonali Kulkarni, Manoj Bajpai, Sayaji Shinde, Makrand Deshpande, Suhasini Mulay
Director: Makrand Deshpande
A man called mad or Pagla (Bajpai) serves at a temple and one day, a wealthy man brings a mentally challenged girl Pagli (Kulkarni) there to serve at the temple to atone his wife’s death. However, Pagla and Pagli get married but that is not acceptable to the authorities there and they separate the two.
The couple decide to run away to Mumbai where a police inspector Pardesi (Shinde) sees potential in making a bit of money for himself. He houses them and brings devotees to see them. Pagli behaves strangely making predictions and acting possessed. This pleases the devotees. But Pagla is not what he seems to be.
Cast: Kay Kay Menon, Sonali Kulkarni, Aditya Srivastav, Vijay Raaz
Director: Kanika Verma
The story is based on a truce between rebels and the India government where a rebel leader Mathew (Menon) calls for peace despite anger among them. He urges them to look to the future and not dwell on the past. He meets an Indian army doctor Dr John Sanga (Srivastav) by chance and invites him home.
The doctor is forced to stay over and Mathew’s wife Maria (Kulkarni) sees him. She immediately believes he is the man who repeatedly raped her while she was prisoner. She ties the doctor up and is extracting revenge. But she was blindfolded at the time of the rape and her husband asks her how she could be sure?