It is often said, “Success is a byproduct of excellence.” There is a plethora of cases in which the Hindi Film Industry failed to properly capitalise the talent of its artistes. However, with time, these talented artists eventually find a worthy place to showcase their talent. In certain cases, these artists have reached such soaring heights that it became unignorable even for Bollywood. In fact, these artists have even proved to be lifesavers for the struggling industry. Sharad Kelkar, a phenomenal actor, is a prime example of this phenomenon.
Bahubali gave prominence that he deserved
Every successful artist experiences a moment in their life when a single performance or creation surpasses all of their previous works in terms of recognition. Bahubali was one such moment for Sharad Kelkar. For instance, here is one specific example – the popular dialogue – ‘अमरिंदर बाहुबली यानी मैं ‘ created mind boggling scenes in the theatres. Those popular words exuberated confidence and authority so much that audiences in deep slumber might have felt compelled to follow Amarendra Bahubali.
The film’s lead cast, particularly Prabhas, achieved unprecedented success. He went on to become a well-known figure in households, even in the Hindi-heartland. The audiences were later stunned to discover the fact that it was Sharad Kelkar’s exceptional voice that elevated the performance in the scene.
Afterwards, the success of Bahubali proved to be a major catalyst in his cinematic career. An actor who had to content with sluggish growth, for varied reasons, had finally started getting his due share of success, not just a fraction of it.
However, it’s important to note that his success did not come by chance, but rather through a journey filled with challenges and triumphs. Born in Gwalior in the year 1976, Sharad Kelkar was interested in acting and started preparing for the same. Initially he started to do modelling. In fact, he became a finalist of Grasim Mr. India contest.
In the meantime, he started getting acting roles in both television and films. In 2004, he made his television debut by essaying the role of a Police Inspector in the serial “Aakrosh” on Doordarshan. Later on, he made his cinematic debut as Sattu Mishra in the film “Halchal.” Despite having all round cinematic skills, the industry failed to either identify or give due opportunities worthy of his talent. He had to struggle for decades to establish himself in the industry. To his great advance, his knack of wanting to strive for more reaped benefit. Even after getting gradual success on Television, he aspired to achieve more.
His cinematic career
In 2012, he played a villainous character named Amar in the second instalment of the “1920” film franchise. Even though Sharad Kelkar performed admirably, the film didn’t perform well. Consequently, his cinematic struggle continued and he faced several hardships in finding new roles.
With Bollywood finding it hard to accommodate his talent, he became interested in dubbing and began working as a dubbing artist.
Afterwards, in the year 2014, he dubbed for the character of Malcolm from the movie “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”. The character was originally played by Hollywood actor Jason Clarke. This dubbing performance led the foundation and he soon began receiving numerous offers for dubbing.
A year later, he received two crucial projects. He got the opportunity to dub for the character Deckard Shaw, played by Jason Statham, in the film “Fast and the Furious.”
At that time, he didn’t know that the second opportunity would change his life forever. He gave his majestic voice for both Amarendra Bahubali and Mahendra Bahubali. Coincidentally both the roles were played by Prabhas, in SS Rajamouli directed blockbuster film “Bahubali.” The film was a roaring success. The fact that Sharad Kelkar had dubbed for these roles, his commanding voice started having its own separate fan base.
Resultantly, he received several new projects and made his debut in the Telugu film industry. He played the antagonistic role in Pawan Kalyan’s “Sardar Gabbar Singh”.
There can be two types of actors – one who are director’s baby and second there is actors like Sharad Kelkar who can infuse life in an otherwise dead role or even mundane story.
Also Read: Unrecognized in Bollywood, but Celebrated Everywhere Else: The Tale of Sayaji Shinde
He has proven himself to be a versatile actor even outshining lead roles in many of his projects.
His noteworthy roles include ones in “The Family Man” and “Special Ops”, both of which were critically applauded.
However, it was Marathi director Om Raut’s first Hindi film “Tanhaji – The Unsung Warrior” released in early 2020 that truly showcased Sharad Kelkar’s acting prowess.
The film was based on the life of the brave Subedar Tanhaji Malusare who laid down his life in conquering the Kondhana fort. At that time, it was of great significance to cast
An able actor who could do Justice in portraying the role of Chhatrapati Shivaji Raje, a highly revered warrior and inspiration for the whole nation. The mammoth task was then assigned to Sharad Kelkar and undoubtedly, he pulled the best. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that when it comes to the most accurate portrayal of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Sharad Kelkar’s name will always come to the forefront. Yet, Bollywood failed to utilise him properly. It’s a shame that he still has to be stated as an underrated actor and not the legend of the industry.
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