Updated: Dec 29, 2020
A b h y a n g K u v a l e k a r is an award winning actor, model, dancer, and grooming expert. He played the lead in the film H o u d e J a r a s a U s h i r which was India's official entry for the Oscars! Having been in the Marathi and Bollywood film industry for decades now, he carves a new path for himself with every new undertaking. He is currently shooting for a new film. From dancing at Shiamak troupe to doing ads for various brands.
For his new chat show S a n g a c h a R a h u n G e l a or S O M E T H I N G T O W H I S P E R he brings out the unexpressed portion of your soul! In this new chat show, he converses with actresses, actors, singers, writers, directors on something they forgot to express in years of being in the industry. Lover of Rumi poetry and Kashmir, the actor has been quite active on the social front, Besides, encouraging citizens to vote, he helps friends out and spreads compassion. He is a trained Reiki teacher and practices meditation. RAD TIMES MEDIA caught up with him one morning between his editing schedules.
RAD TIMES: Hi Abhyang! So happy to connect with you and a big greetings from RAD TIMES! Congrats on your new show Sangacha Rahun Gela! How did the idea of a new chat show come to you which we know as Sangacha Rahun Gela?
Abhyang Kulvaekar: Hi and thank you so much! Honestly, the pandemic has taught us a lot of things. This year has been a little different. Across the world, it has made people re-think the kind of life they have been living. And it has somehow gone over the superficial that we have lived all these years. And made us think about the relationships that matter. So, the idea for Sangacha Rahun Gela started with that. And artists all over the city and world had the time around April, May when we were thinking if this is going to be the end? So in this context, the idea of a new chat show came to me.
RAD TIMES: Absolutely! Actors may be public figures, but they are also very mysterious, they will never tell you what's happening. And what we could gather, while we were watching the released episodes of Sangacha Rahun Gela or SOMETHING TO WHISPER on Youtube. We discovered that there is a lot of talk about mental health in that also comes out in your chat show Sangacha Rahun Gela or SOMETHING TO WHISPER. For example when you are chatting with actress Shruti Marathe, she mentions about the Me Too Movement ( Hashtag with Abhyang Season 2.) So we were wondering that actors, people whom we look up to have something in their heart, that they want to share. What about the common people ? So RAD TIMES did feel that it is a broader issue of mental health that you are addressing. So how can more and more artists ( you know in Pune, we have a strong experimental theatre tradition. And there are students coming from many cities to study theatre and are struggling. So how can they express themselves confidently, honestly. And is there a way they can connect on Sangacha Rahun Gela so that they can adress themselves ?
Abhyang Kulvaekar: of course let me answer this question in two parts! I think art itself is an expression. [ Correct ] Any form of art, be it visual art like painting or sketching , anything that has to do with sculpting, casting or even embroidery, you know photography, poetry, art design, cinema. So a mixture of all of this. So art in itself is an expression. And that is why artists become artists because they have something to share and they want to tell it out to the world. For any newcomer or anybody who is trying experimental theatre or short films, I think it is important to do it. The most important thing I would say is to take action in that direction and just do it. That's the most important thing.
There will be an audience who is going to like it. And there will be an audience who is not going to like it. But that does not matter because even the greatest of people in history including Charlie Chaplin have gone through rejections. So, I do not see it as a roadblock anywhere, to go out and start telling out stories that you want to. We are in really good times, and the audience mind spectrum has become much bigger now, from what it used to be. So the audience is very inetersted to watch these plays or films, or stories coming out, on different kinds of subjects. So, definately. I have a feeling, which is a very personal feeling, that it is very important at this point of time that we spread positivity.
[ Absolutely , positivity and compassion. Lots of compassion. ]
RAD TIMES: Yes, positivity and compassion.
Abhyang Kulvaekar: Yes, because we all go through this journey of life, where we have ups and downs! And we all have good and bad days! But, I think that even the bad days can make you a better person. And that is how one should look at it, rather than , just bashing someone who is doing something positive.
[ Yes, so much of toxity we have seen received in the film industry . Undeservedly, people who don't merit. For example, people who work back-shoot do not have to do with alot of things. Who are pulled into it. ]
Abhyang Kulvaekar: Second part of the question, how do they reach out to me. Well, at the end of the show, I say if someone has anything to say which is left unsaid, so all they need to do is get in touch with me on Facebook page . Or to get my social media handle of Instagram is not very difficult.And reach out to me and if they can send us a video. one selected video, we would love to play the video at the end of the episode!
Strangely enough, at the end of last three episodes, we have had people sending messages to us, but people are still quite hesitant, how do we make videos and send it because they are not able to say it. Being able to make a video is even more difficult. But, then I am trying to encourage that! I am telling people that go on and just empty yourself. Dosen't really matter, how are you looking, or how are you talking. What matters is expression.
RAD TIMES: You have grown up in Pune and been in the industry for so many years , , what art forms would you like the students could practice more ? For students or even working professionals ? Or is there any art form you would liek to see flourish more in the city ?
Abhyang Kulvaekar: Honestly, there are a couple of them. I really feel somehow we have lost touch with classical music. For example people like Bhimsen Joshi staying in the city. So maybe classical music has to come back maybe in a different format, fusion format; a format that the youth is appelaed to by. Another thing which has gone lost right now, is I think pottery.
[ Yes, working with yiur habds ] Pottery and to do with sculptures. Very few youngsters take that up. We have fine arts colleges in Pune. But th enumber of students is very few. So probably, that needs to come up.
RAD TIMES:Thank you so much for sharing this insight. Everyone wants to becoem ana ctor, but what about other art forms because they also contribute to development of a child. The next question is about your love for Kashmir. Chatting about your love for Kashmir and books, you were at a book launch of Gul-Gulshan-Gulfaam! So we were wondering how did you happen to go for the book launch, and what do you feel about the culture of Kashmir ? So much of beauty and rich arts ?
Abhyang Kulvaekar: Wow, The book had a very famous series on Doordarshan. [ Yes, Parikshit Sahni starred in the series on Doordarshan. ] The book is written by the celebrated writer Pran Kishore Kaul. Who is a Kashmiri stage personality. Pranji got his Padmashri last year. And he is a ninety-two year old very young man. Who has the energy to shy any youth of the country, I think. [ he, he ] Pranji has been very active in bringing Kashmir and Kashmiriyat on television and as a writer. So Pran Kishore Kaul happens to be the grandfather of one of my dear freinds Mrinal Kaul. Mrinal is a cinematographer and he is on my team on HASHTAG with ABHYANG. So, the book launch was happening and they wanted me to come and anchor it as they wanted soemoen to know Hindi and Marathi both. And that is the reason I was there and my love for Kashmir. And, I am yet to see any place a sbeautiful on earth. Yeh jo kahawaat hai ki, " agar kahin jannat hai to yehin hai, to woh kashmir hai, " And, that is Kashmir!
RAD TIMES: Yes, we have observed that actors are somehow connected with the best of writing. Interestingly, we read about this event on the kasmiriobserver.org and this article popped up. And they reported that there was a book launch of Gul-Gulshan-Gulfaam . We couldn't find it anywhere on Pune press. So we were very lucky to stumble on it.
Abhyang Kulvaekar: Ya, also why I was lucky to join it, because I had seen bits of Gul-Gulshan-Gulfaam in bits and pieces. And it was the first series that was shot in Kasmir too. They have shown the Dal lake and it is so beautiful. It is actually the story about this guy who owns these three sikaras by the name of Gul, Gulshan, Gulfaam! And it was beautiful and when i came to know abou it, I was like, wow, it is going to connect me to Kashmir a little further. So, why not. And I grabbed the opportunity.
RAD TIMES: Are there any shows which are must watch for us on Indian television ?
Abhyang Kulvaekar: In Hindi, there was a series called Mount Everest which was produced and directed by Ashutosh Gowariker. Which was on Star plus and it was a really really nice show. There was another series 'Saraswati Chandra' in terms of the magnitude.
Abhyang Kulvaekar: As a maker of the series, the artists that I really want to look at , have the depth to talk about a certain subject. For example with Sangacha Rahun Gela , the reason why we have such celebrated senior actors. Because, I was looking for actors, who are sensitive to this part of their life and they may have a regret, on somthing that they have unsaid left. Which I really don't think exists in the younger generation for some reason, I don't know why. I do see a lack of gratitude. Everything has to be instant somehow. The internet works instantly, it works like that. So, that was my first basic criteria when I wanted to decide for Sangacha Rahun Gela. For Hashtag with Abhyang I wanted people who are quirky, who have a sense of humour, who are open to bare themselves on the show. Talk about their mistakes, talk about their insecurity, as much as we will have fun. And crack some jokes! So, that is what the criteria is when I choose people, and thankfully since I have been working for so many years, I know all of them very well. Most of them are my very dear friend. So, that is how it becomes easier because I know they would not go on other shows, and talk. For example on Sangacha Rahun Gela, we have Sonali Kulkarni. She did tell me that, because it is your show, I feel like coming and expressing myself.
RAD TIMES: She was so sweet and honest.
Abhyang Kulvaekar: Yes someone who has won five-six national awards and international awards. And to come up on a TV show to join hands and say sorry is a very big thing. So, at the end of every show I get fifty to sixty messages. So, one person had messaged me, and he had written that, when we see people like you guys, talk about your mistakes and accept them publicly, and have the guts to do that, it gives strength to normal people like us to do that to. To accept our mistakes, gracefully and be okay about it and move on! That's one of the best messages we got, and he asked me to tell that to Sonali; and I told her that.
Also, a lot of actors who have come on the show, were pleasantly shocked to tell me that, I am doing it. Infact Sonali mentioned it on the BIG FM interview that, she was freshly shocked to see that Abhyang is doing it. And there was no reason I would have said no. You are Abhyang and you have a big name in the fashion industry, you are all glitz and glam. So , I said, that's my work. it should not mean that I should be like that. So I told her you have worked with Saifali Khan and Salman Khan ; and you appear to be such a simple person. What about that ? And now we know that the real you is much deeper. And, we have such amazing thoughts inside. Ya, but it just has to come up with time!