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Translating Antu Barva on celluloid

DNPUN46300 | 1/29/2012 | Author : Pallavi Kharade | WC :566

Known for his versatility, actor Dilip Prabhavalkar shares his experience of playing Antu Barva, the quirky character created by Pu La Deshpande

The characters in legendary writer Pu La Deshpande’s popular book Vyakti Ani Valli have often left people amazed for their ‘real’ feel. Little wonder then that the character of Antu Barva, is still one of the most popular characters amongst the readers. Here’s good news for Pu La Deshpande’s fans. Now the audience will get to see their favourite character, Antu Barva, on big screen. And noted actor Dilip Prabhavalkar, who is known for his versatility, will be essaying the role in the upcoming Marathi film Golaberij.
Produced by Devdutta Kapadia of Different Strokes Communications, Golaberij is directed by Kshitij Zarapkar. And Prabhavalkar, who has played a wide variety of characters like Chimanrao, Gangadhar Tipare in the serial Shriyut Gangadhar Tipare, a mentally challenged man in Chaukat Raja and also of Mahatma Gandhi in Lage Raho Munnabhai, feels, “Since most of the Maharashtrians who have read Vyakati and Valli also know the character of Antu Barva by heart, it was a challenge to portray it convincingly.”
He adds, “Pu La Deshpande’s book Vyakti Ani Valli is one of the best literary works in Marathi literature. During my school and college days I was quite influenced by it, whether in the form of literature or performances. In fact, I had read the story of the character Antu Barva so many times that I know every sentence of the story by heart.”
Elucidating upon the intricacies of the famous character, Prabhavalkar says, “I love the character Antu Barva very much. He is a typical Konkani character who is sarcastic and outwardly rude but inside he has a heart of gold.” Interestingly, the character is part realistic part imaginary. “Pu La never committed that it is based on a real life character. I believe that the last sentence Pu La has written in the story defines Antu Barva,” says Prabhavalkar adding, “It says that the local people from Konkan are quite like jackfruit, hard from outside. But the way jackfruit tastes sweet only after it ripes, Konkani people turn mellow only after they age. That one sentence captures the essence of Antu Barva.”
According to Prabhavalkar, though the character of Antu Barva has many layers, he found it easy to play. “The Antu Barva I had imagined was very different from the way
I look. So I had to translate his character through my personality. But, since I have read it so many times and imagined it, I found it very easy to essay the character. I have tried to play the character to the best of my capacity,” says he. He also feels that he has tried to be honest to the character as well as Pu La’s literature. “I think if the humorous elements of his story reach the audience, I will consider myself successful in portraying the character,” says the actor.
Talking about the film, Golaberij he says, “Golaberij has managed to bring alive Pu La Deshapande’s literature on the bigger canvas. Since I haven’t seen the rushes, I don’t know how the film will turn out in totality, but the film definitely has a literary flavour.” Reminiscing the time when Pu La ruled the medium of films as well he says, “Whether it’s films, literature, or music, Pu La gave equal contribution to these fields. Golaberij is a tribute to Pu La Deshpande.” The film is slated to hit the theatres on February 10.

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