I started watching Marathi plays during my college days in a theater (Vasantrao Deshpande Sabhagruha, Nagpur). Usually, after play, I used to go to the dressing room to see those artists and get their autographs. I met many legendary artists like Ashok Saraf, Prashant Damle, Dilip Prabhavalkar and others. All these people are legends in Marathi film industry.
Most of them are very humble, simple and down to earth. One thing that I understood, these people are still in demand, not just because of their talent, but also due to their humbleness and simplicity.
Similarly, I saw Nana Patekar in a special cultural event, where the government was honoring Marathi people those who have done extraordinary work at national or international level.
I saw the event schedule on the venue, there were many people on the list like Sunil Gavaskar, Ajit Wadekar, Amol Palekar, Nana Patekar and other.
As I am a huge fan of Nana Patekar, was so curious to see him, noted his timeslot.
Nana is a natural actor. He has got many awards for his contribution towards fields of “Films and Art” including "Padma Shri". He is only actor ever to win Filmfare Awards in the Best Actor (Krantiveer), Best Supporting Actor (Parinda) and Best Villain (Angaar) categories.
Apart from his films, he is a philosopher and also philanthropist. He established the “Naam foundation” for farmers to overcome drought conditions in Maharashtra.
I attended the award ceremony on the scheduled date. Nana was in simple attire jeans and shirt. After the award ceremony, there was open question-answer session for all.
One reporter from the crowd asked a controversial question. Suddenly Nana got angry, raised his voice and shouted "कोण आहे तो? ये वर" (Who is there? Come on the stage).
His voice was so loud and commanding, if I would have that person, I would freeze there. People pushed the person towards the stage. Then Nana clarified reporter’s doubt and everything got settled.
After that, someone asked, "Nana, why are you so aggressive?". Nana responded to this question in his natural way by smiling. Then he started sharing his childhood memories, that he is from Raigad District (Konkan) and relationship with his parents and siblings.
He said I was not that good looking child, so other children used to tease me. That time I had only 2 options, either I can become shy\timid and developed inferiority complex. OR become aggressive so that no one can tease me again. I picked up aggressive option. My aggressiveness is the shield for my inner self from the outer world. He was so philosophical in his response.
Then someone asked about poetry and he recited a beautiful poem. I was in shock, how a person like Nana can have the flavor of Poetry.
We generally judge people based on their outer appearance. But every individual is like Iceberg, what we see only 1% and it is ample inside.
P.L. Deshpande rightly said once,
“ People from Konkan are like Jackfruit (फणस). They look very tough from outside, but very sweet and soft inside. Even sweeter, when they grow older"