Before we dive into the remarkable journey of Nana Patekar’s comeback, it’s essential to acknowledge the catalyst behind this resurgence – Tanushree Dutta. Her decision to file a malicious case set in motion a series of events that would ultimately unveil the unwavering resilience of Nana Patekar.
As the saying goes, “If you kick me down, you better pray I never get up.” Nana Patekar, figuratively kicked down by false accusations, certainly took those words to heart. He decided that his return to the spotlight would not be a mere whisper but a resounding declaration.
With “The Vaccine War,” Nana Patekar ensured that his comeback would be witnessed by all. The road back from the depths of humiliation in a fabricated molestation case, courtesy of Tanushree Dutta, was a long and arduous one – spanning a grueling five years. However, once Nana Patekar made his triumphant return, there was no looking back, and it is this very journey that we shall shed light upon.
From “Gaman” to Uday Shetty!
Irrespective of the outcome of “The Vaccine War,” one thing is unmistakably clear: Vishwanath Patekar, better known as Nana Patekar, has made a triumphant return, and this time, it seems like he’s here to stay.
However, before Nana Patekar became the iconic figure we know today, he embarked on a roller coaster journey in the movie industry, full of ups and downs, twists and turns.
Nana’s journey began with a modest role in Muzaffar Ali’s 1978 film ‘Gaman.’ At that time, he was a theatre artist who dabbled in both Hindi and Marathi cinema. It wasn’t until 1986 that his career took a significant turn.
In 1986, Nana Patekar appeared in three projects, one of which was a television series. However, it was with the films “Maaficha Sakshidar” and “Ankush” that he truly announced himself as a formidable actor. These movies catapulted him into the limelight, earning him recognition as a talent to be reckoned with.
As the years went by, Nana steadily climbed the ranks in the industry. His breakthrough came with his role as Anna Seth in “Parinda.” This film established him as a powerful actor and garnered him both the Filmfare Award and the National Award for Best Supporting Actor.
But Nana Patekar was not content with just acting. He immersed himself in his roles to such an extent that he underwent rigorous training for 2.5 years with the Indian Army for his part in “Prahaar: The Final Attack.” Despite the film’s limited commercial success, it is still considered one of Nana Patekar’s finest works. His dedication was so profound that he even received an Honorary rank of Major in the Territorial Army division of the Indian Army.
The year 1993 marked a significant turning point in Nana Patekar’s career. He faced formidable competition from an accomplished actor like Raj Kumar in “Tirangaa,” yet he carved out his own space in this iconic film. The following year, he delivered a stellar performance in “Krantiveer,” which is widely regarded as one of his best roles to date.
However, Nana Patekar was not confined to serious roles alone. Although he had his unique brand of dark humor, it was in 2007 that he took on the role of Don Uday Shetty, stealing the spotlight in the comedic caper “Welcome.” And he went on to become so synonymous with the character that the ‘Welcome’ franchise without Uday Shetty would be like dal without salt—tasteless and soulless!
The baseless allegations and Nana’s remarkable comeback!
Nana Patekar was never your typical Bollywood superstar. In an industry known for its glitz and glamour, Nana stood out as a beacon of simplicity and substance. He believed in the philosophy of simple living and high thinking, an attitude that didn’t always sit well with the elite of Bollywood.
Despite the resistance he faced from the industry’s upper echelons, Nana Patekar remained resolute in pursuing his own path. He wasn’t just another actor in the crowd; he was a force to be reckoned with. In a film industry notorious for its biases, Nana’s achievements were remarkable.
Astonishingly, he stands alongside Irrfan Khan as the only actors to have won awards in all the major acting categories at the Filmfare Awards, including Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, and even Best Villain. That’s pure talent in a nutshell! Nana’s journey was marked by highs and lows, but he never allowed setbacks to define him. After a brief hiatus, he made a powerful comeback with his portrayal of a former theater artist in “Natsamrat.” His performance was a testament to his enduring talent. Soon after, he delivered a brilliant cameo in “Golmaal Again,” reminding everyone of his versatility.
However, just when Nana’s career was gaining momentum once again, it was derailed by a controversy involving Tanushree Dutta. She decided to exploit the #MeToo movement and accused Nana of sexual harassment in a case dating back to 2008. Nana vehemently denied these allegations, a stance he maintains to this day.
Despite the case having numerous loopholes and inconsistencies, the media wasted no time in vilifying Nana for their own gains. The relentless humiliation and ignominy he endured could have broken a lesser man, but Nana refused to give up. He fought tirelessly, and by the end of 2019, local courts dismissed the case, hinting at its malicious nature.
However, it took another four years for Nana to make an official comeback. While he appeared in an anthology titled ‘Tadka’ in 2022, it wasn’t until ‘Gadar 2’ that he made his official return, albeit in the role of a narrator.
Now, with his powerful portrayal of ICMR director, Professor Balram Bhargava, in ‘The Vaccine War,’ Nana has sent a resounding message – he is here to stay and rule the rooster in his unique way. His indomitable spirit and unwavering dedication to his craft have triumphed over adversity once again, proving the fact that failures might have many reasons to set you back, but success has only a few, and that is hard work and self-belief, which tops the list and Nana Patekar’s comeback is a testament to his resilience, and it reaffirms his status as one of Bollywood’s most enduring and talented actors.
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