INDIA. Mumbai: An actor par excellence, an actor who has turned the tide of Marathi cinema, an actor who has carved a niche for himself, Swapnil Joshi is the actor of the highest acumen and one of the most saleable actors in Marathi cinema. His life sketch can be a road map to the millions who are dreaming to become successful actors like him. In an interview with Transcontinental Times, Swapnil takes us through his journey of becoming an actor, his future plans, and many more things.
Swapnil was born and brought in Girgaon, South Mumbai. At that time, South Mumbai was the hub of entertainment. Ganesh festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm in Mumbai. In the ten-day festival, a lot of entertainment activities take place on the specially designed dais known as ‘pandals’. During this festival, Swapnil used to do many performances. While performing on one of the daises, Swapnil was spotted by an actor. This actor recommended his name to the iconic director, Ramanand Sagar.
Ramanand Sagar was the director of cult-favorite serial, ‘Uttar Ramayan’ which used to be aired on Doordarshan Channel. He was searching for a boy who could be suitable for the role of ‘Kush’ in the ‘Uttar Ramayan’ serial. The director found Swapnil tailor-made for that role.
At that time, Swapnil was just nine years old boy. When asked about how he got the opportunity to be a part of the TV serial, Swapnil simply said “pure destiny”. Swapnil became a household name soon after.
“Lot of people struggle to get work, my struggle started when I have got works,” he said.
When asked about how he handled the childhood stardom, Swapnil replied, “It was due to my parents who taught me to be firm-footed on the ground. It was entirely my parent’s teaching of moral values and ethics which prohibited my stardom to raise to my head.”
In 1989, when Swapnil was just ten years old, he became the most sought-after child actor in the television industry. However, his parents were adamant that he wouldn’t do any roles till he finished his matriculation.
When he was 16, Ramanand Sagar approached him for the most iconic role of Lord Krishna in the ‘Krishna’ serial which was again shown on Doordarshan. “This was the time I realized what stardom is! I then became aware of fans, autographs, and worldwide recognition.” With this serial, Swapnil’s journey of television serials began.
In his career, Swapnil has acted in a variety of serials like Campus, Amanat, Desh Me Nikla Hoga Chand, and many more. He played a gamut of roles in the serials ranging from Inder in ‘Amanat’ to Dr. Prakash in ‘Bhabhi’. These roles prepared him for the challenging roles in the Marathi cinema a few years later.
Talking to Transcontinental Times, he said, “During those days there were female-centric serials on the television. I was fortunate enough to get the male lead roles.”
His stint with Comedy Circus
After serials, Swapnil forayed his talent towards comedy shows and participated in the first season of ‘Comedy Circus’ in 2007. He was paired with a stand-up-comedian VIP, and the duo was declared as the runner-up of the show.
After this, he became indispensable in the successive years in Comedy shows on SONY TV. In the eighth season of the show named Comedy Circus- Maha Sangram, he and his partner VIP won the show.
“What Kapil Sharma’s Show is now, ‘Comedy Circus’ was then,” he said. At that time, Swapnil was considered as the most popular comedy actors in the television industry.
After a successful career in TV serials, Swapnil was on cloud nine. One day jokingly asked his mother about how she felt about her son’s success and popularity. Just like every other child, Swapnil was also expecting some praises from his mother. To his utter dismay, his mother’s response was a slap on the face. Responding to his question, she said, “You should not think you’re successful, once you think you’re successful, your hunger for more dies.”
Her second statement was even more thought-provoking.”As a Maharashtrian woman, you are nothing to me because you haven’t done anything significant in Marathi. “Swapnil was dumbstruck by her answer. “For me, mom’s command is God’s command. I am mama’s boy, I take my mother’s advice very seriously.” After getting this answer, Swapnil promised his mother that he would dedicate his entire time to the Marathi works and won’t take any other projects. Such was his commitment to his mother that he didn’t utter a single word of Hindi for one year.
Swapnil’s journey in Marathi cinema
After entering the Marathi film industry, In 2010, he played the lead role of a boy from Pune in the hit, romantic film Mumbai-Pune-Mumbai opposite Mukta Barve. This film put Swapnil on the Marathi films industry map as one of the leading stars. The role of Gautam Pradhan, who wore one t-shirt and bermuda throughout the film, stole the heart of many. After the movie, Swapnil got a huge female fan following, especially among females.
His pairing with Mukta was loved by everyone. The demand for the pair was so high that two more sequels by the same name were made in 2015 and 2018.
A movie sequel was made for the first time in the Marathi film industry. But the film, that made him a household name in the Marathi film was ‘Duniyadari’. His acting in this film was lauded by both the viewers and the critics.
After this film, people finally realized that a star had finally arrived on the Marathi cinema horizon. The Marathi films were now getting noticed not only in Maharashtra but also in other states because of Swapnil’s popularity in the TV serials.
But the film which put him on the top rung of the stardom was ‘Mitwaa’ in 2015. In this movie, he played the role of Shivam Naranag who believes in purchasing everything, including his love. He portrayed the frustration and desperation of the character in a panache. The subtlety with which Swapnil acted gripped the emotions of the viewers. While watching this movie, viewers laughed and cried with his movie character. The popularity of ‘Mitwaa’ can be gauged by the fact that this movie has been dubbed in three other languages. With ‘Mitwaa’, the ‘Rise and Rise of Swapnil Joshi’ began.
Swapnil’s web series ‘Samantar’ is drawing a massive response from the viewers. Samantar is the first Marathi web series. The story is very gripping and is a must-watch for every viewer.
When asked about his inspiration, he replied, “I get inspiration from people around me. From my driver to light men, to spot boys, all are my inspiration. I am like a sponge that absorbs all that is available to it, imbibing what is needed in my acting and wringing out that which is not useful.”
New entrant as an entrepreneur
Swapnil is a great supporter of women. Hence, he decided to do something for women. He has created an electronic commerce platform for local products for the whole Indian market. Swapnil has named it as ‘Ti’, (which literally means ‘She’ in Marathi). With 80% of women workforce, the name ‘Ti’ justifies the concept. Although very early in the market, the e-commerce site is gathering momentum.
“When every Friday release decides the fate of actors, standing tall in the film industry for more than three decades is no mean feat,” he told Transcontinental Times. Indeed his longevity in the film industry speaks volumes for the talent and love of viewers for a phenomenon called ‘Swapnil Joshi’.