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At the time, Sadashiv Amrapurkar’s Menacing Maharani’ was seen as ‘gross, downmarket’: ‘The minute we saw him in a sari…’

Sadashiv Amrapurkar's

On Sadashiv Amrapurkar’s 72nd birthday, here’s a look back at one of his most memorable parts in Mahesh Bhatt’s Sadak.

Sadashiv Amrapurkar’s dedicated his life to Marathi theatre and portrayed several noteworthy roles during the course of his career. However, Amrapurkar rose to prominence when he portrayed Maharani in Mahesh Bhatt’s 1991 film Sadak.

Maharani was written as a eunuch who works as a pimp, and according to Mahesh Bhatt, the “character was referred to as ‘gross’ and ‘downmarket’ by many at the time.” Bhatt said in an obituary article for India Today after the actor’s death in 2014 that the character “came to life because of Sadashiv Amrapurkar’s commitment.”

According to the film director, he was an “interesting man who struck a visceral chord with his creative portrayal of the sari-clad scary Maharani.” Bhatt went on to say that time was the greatest critic and that filmgoers had kept Maharani alive. It was said of Sadashiv, whom he described as “a people’s person who knew exactly how to depict an as a competent and flexible performer.

Sadashiv made his film debut in Govind Nihalani’s Ardh Satya when he portrayed a negative part, and it was this performance that attracted Bhatt to the actor. It was as though he had been a youngster again when I told him the story of Sadak.” When we first saw him dressed in a sari, we were awestruck by character as a eunuch, we knew the role would be spectacular,” he remembered.

“His voice, vocabulary, and gestures had a particular earthiness, which enabled him to portray some of the so-called ‘crass’ and ‘crude’ parts on-screen with ease,” he added of the actor’s chameleon-like talent.

Sadashiv is most known for his roles in films like Aankhen, Mohra, Coolie No. 1, and Ishq, in addition to Sadak and Ardh Satya. His most recent film performance was in Bombay Talkies when he starred in Dibakar Banerjee’s short Star. Sadashiv died at the age of 64 on November 3, 2014.