Exclusive: ‘It Has Been A Long Journey From Natarang To Hirkani,’ Says Sonalee Kulkarni

Sonalee Kulkarni talked about her school memories, her first film and her experience in the city of dreams – Mumbai.

Ankita Tiwari

June 8, 2020


11 min


Sonalee Kulkarni started her journey in the Marathi cinema at a very young age with the film Bakula Namdev Ghotale. The Natrang film actress is well known for her dance on the song Apsara Aali. She is currently seen in the ZEE Yuva Dancing Queen reality show as the judge. Sonalee has also acted in Bollywood films but Marathi films like Mitwa, Hirkani, Classmates have brought her the appraises and awards. In a candid chat with ZEE, Sonalee Kulkarni talked about her career, life, family, and the current lockdown situation. Read the excerpts from the conversation below.

You can watch an episode of the Zee Yuva Dancing Queen here.

You started learning dance from a very young age, did you love dancing right from the beginning or did you start enjoying it over time?

Ans: I have not been trained into anything particular but I think when you want to do something with passion, you succeed at it. I can also say that because my mom used to love dancing and she used to perform in army events. She’s civilian just like me and last she performed was when she was three months pregnant with me. So I think I learned it from my mother’s womb and I developed an interest in it from the 9th standard.

You come from an army background, has this helped you become a disciplined and organised person?

Definitely I think I invite a lot of qualities from my father and mother, though all the artistic part comes from my mother, the disciplined and organized part comes from my father. He is very organized and very disciplined. Whether it is financing or something else the organizing details of the activities only come from my father. I was  a disciplined child in school, I don’t remember having a complaint from the teachers. I was always in top three it was a criterion I had created for myself. Even today, while shooting I need to have a perfect take otherwise I feel something is off. I kind of have a slight OCD.

Sonalee Kulkarni from Yuva Dancing Queen
Source: ZEE5

What are your best memories from school and college at Pune?

I went to an army school. So we had students from all over the globe and international students menat learning beyond boundaries. I talked to them and grasped whatever I could. My best memory is when we won a dance competition at Pune. My regret is that I had to go to Punjab, my native place, but I still cherish that memory. Another one being the class monitor and scoring top marks for all subjects!

You studied mass communication, was coming into media and becoming an actor your dream all along?

Ans. Absolutely, I have always dreamed of becoming an actor since my childhood like I said, I have been in this world dancing and jumping around and acting since childhood. Films have been a very big influence on me. I have been watching them while growing up on feeling I was in it. I think if I did not have the opportunity to work in films, I would always be striving to work in the industry.

A Still Of Sonalee Kulkarni
Source: Instagram

You have spent a considerable amount in both Mumbai and Pune, which of these are your favorite cities and why?

Both the cities are very special to me. One gave me the platform for my dreams while the other made them come true. At Pune, I did my first few photoshoots and the traditional photoshoot from which I got selected and moved to Mumbai. In this city, my dreams came true and became a reality. I bought my own house and people started knowing me for who I am.

From being an artist and performer to a judge on a reality show Yuva Dancing Queen, how does it feel?

I feel honored, I  think if you define it in that manner I don’t really take it very seriously and that I do not like to judge anyone. Being judgemental does not resonate with me as a person and I like to reflect on what I like to see, I like to express. I am thankful that the channel sends no scripts and I can just be myself. It does reflect my personality reflects my views my opinions on the performing arts. I just think it is a great platform to share and for the upcoming talent.

Sonalee Kulkarni from Irada Pakka
Source: Instagram

Who is your favorite on the ZEE Yuva Dancing Queen show?

This would be a wrong question as I just can’t point out to a single favorite. I loved watching all of them perform, each one had something new to offer. But I loved watching the girls perform. I love watching the journey of the girls, especially Ankita Bhagat and Kshama Deshpande. These are just normal girls and they have transformed during the journey.

Does your knowledge of dance help you in judging the contestants?

I am an audience in the show, I love watching the performances. I love dancing and I can completely relate with the performers. I add my suggestions but eventually, I get the entertained by some of the performances of it while some of them touch me emotionally and it makes me feel like dancing, simply getting up and joining them on stage.

Sonalee Kulkarni from Yuva Dancing Queen
Source: Instagram

Could you drop any hint for the finale of Dancing Queen?

I wish I could. Everyone was waiting for it before the lockdown. We finished the semi-finale episode and I was very excited and looking forward to the finale. Everything was planned and even my performance had been streamlined. But suddenly the whole covid 19 situation happened and we are all waiting for the lock down to end so that we can shoot and see who wins the show. It has been a long journey.

You are going to launch your own podcast channel, what made you choose this particular platform? You have named this channel Sangte Aika, what was the thought behind this name?

I have been thinking about this for a long time. I have always wanted to connect with the audience. But Blogs and video platforms have become cliche now. I wanted to do something unique, so I came up with Sangte Aika. Also, this would be a direct contact between my fans and me. There would be no external disturbance.

Sonalee Kulkarni from Yuva Dancing Queen
Source: Instagram

You received a lot of appreciation for your role in Natarang, how was the experience working with Ravi Jadhav also please tell us about your film Hirkani?

Ravi Jadhav noticed me when I won an award for my first film. He taught me all about Marketing and image building. I learned a lot from him and this was the first film in which I was involved from the basics like scriptwriting. From Natarang to Hirkani, it has been a long journey. It has been a decade long journey in which I got to learn from various directors and filmmakers. I absolutely loved the appreciation Hirkani has received.

How are you spending your time in the lockdown? What is your message for your fans?

I am trying to keep positive and trying to keep myself active physically mentally because it can get draining. exhausting, depressing, frustrating because we are not used to such kind of regulations in our lives but I think you have to try to keep positive and it is key. Also I have been watching a lot of web series and reading some books. I think one of the things on my bucket list was that I have been wanting to learn to cook for a long time so in this lock down period I have started to learn to cook from scratch and I’m so glad to find that doing it is actually kind of therapeutic and  I think this lockdown is going to be about taking of things from my bucket list and staying positive.

What do you think about the views of this beautiful light-eyed actress? Comment below!

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