Something has hit 23-year old Pune boy Akash Thosar. It’s known as stardom. Nagraj Manjule’s Marathi blockbuster Sairat has changed his life.
“I am still trying to understand what has happened to my life,” says the soft-spoken overnight star whose only connection with cinema before Sairat was as a member of the audience. “I watch films. But that’s it. No one in my family is even remotely connected to cinema. My father is a land contractor. I was studying at the Pune University when Sairat happened.”
Just how Akash got the role is also a story. “I was spotted by the director Nagrajji’s brother in his village Jeur. He thought I suited the role and told Nagrajji who asked me to meet him. Everything happened quickly after that. It’s like a blur from the time I was offered the role.”
Akash says the director treated him like family. “Both my co-star Rinku Rajguru and I stayed in Nagrajji’s home with his family while we prepared for our roles. I was treated like a member of the family. I knew nothing about acting. I still have a lot to learn.”
Now the acting bug has bitten Akash. “It’s as if I always wanted to do this. But didn’t know about it. Sairat has changed my life. I cannot step out of the house without people accosting me. My family is very proud of me.”
What about his friends in Pune? Has their attitude changed towards Akash?
Laughs the shy guy, “You won’t believe this. But I haven’t met my friends after the release of Sairat. There’s no time. We are running around promoting the film.”
When asked about fan experience with women, Akash shies away, “Women and men they all love the film. Everywhere we go we are greeted with the warmth of family members. The entire experience has helped me open up as an individual. Earlier I could barely speak a few words to strangers. Now I’m far more comfortable in the company of people I don’t know.”