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Mithila Palkar: My grandfather was never on board with the idea of me becoming an actor; he is my biggest fan today – Exclusive – Times of India

Mithila Palkar grabbed the spotlight unexpectedly in 2016 after the Marathi version of her ‘cup song’ became viral on social media. She was one of the first people to explore and rule the OTT space with her popular series, ‘Girl In The City’ and ‘Little Things’. Later from ‘Katti Batti’, ‘Karwaan’ to ‘Tribhanga’, the actress has been busy carving a niche for herself in the industry.
Today, on the occasion of her birthday, ETimes sat down with the actress for a freewheeling chat where she spoke about her birthday plans, her efforts to break away from her girl-next-door image, her journey in showbiz so far and more. Excerpts…

How do you plan to celebrate your birthday today?

Most of my birthdays are celebrated with my family and friends. This has been the tradition with my family for any festival or special occasion. It continues to be that. We all meet at my grandmother’s house and celebrate together. I am celebrating my birthday the same way.
Apart from this, I will also be visiting an NGO for the underprivileged children and celebrate my special day with them.

What are your fondest memories of celebrating your birthday during your growing up years?

Like I said earlier, my family comes together for all special occasions and festivities. Even if we can’t be physically present, we connect the rest of the family through video calls. This tradition is very special to me. My family is very special to me. I am quite close to my family, especially my grandparents. So my fondest memories have been with them celebrating all special occasions.

What is the most memorable gift you have received on your special day so far and from whom?

I don’t remember much about the gifts but I can tell you about my most memorable birthday. It was my 21st birthday when my close friends from my theatre family had planned a day full of surprises for me. It was very sweet that they remembered all that I had told them randomly. I had forgotten about most of them. During the course of the day, one gave me a rose, another one took me to a movie, and we went to the Nehru Planetarium. It was indeed a special day for me with my special people.

What is your birthday wish for this year?

My birthday wish for myself this year would be to re-learn how to be in a moment. Ever since I have started working, my life has become fast-paced. I have to remind myself to pause and breathe. That is what I wish to re-learn this year- to be present in the moment.

You have nobody in your family who belongs to the world of performing arts. Did it take special convincing for them to allow you to enter the showbiz?

Yes, it took a little bit of convincing because I grew up with my maternal grandparents. My grandfather was very strict growing up. I absolutely loved and respected him and I would have never gone against his word. Performing arts was something that I was running away from exactly for that reason because I knew that Bhau (grandfather) would never appreciate it.


However, it found its way back to me somehow. I thought of giving it a chance and talked to Bhau about it. I had a very rational conversation with him. I never acted professionally so I didn’t even know if I could do it. I didn’t know what sort of opportunities would come my way. I asked for a six months time period from him. I promised him if it wasn’t for me I would move away from it. But as fate would have it, things started rolling for me. At one point, I had things to show him that these are the things that I am doing. I told him things are working out for me and asked him if I can continue doing it. He too got on board with the idea and eventually became my biggest fan. He collected all my article cutouts from newspapers and magazines. He would keep a new magazine on the table and show it to people who would come home. It was really sweet. So it did take a little bit of convincing but it was all for the best!

You often spoke about breaking your girl-next-door image on screen. How important do you think it is not to get stereotyped?

Although it is important to not get stereotyped, it is also very easy. Whatever roles I chose to do or ended up doing at the beginning of my career were all girl-next-door kind of roles. I enjoyed playing them because I could relate to them. However, I realised that it is not letting me break out of that mould. I had to find more opportunities that would explore my abilities as an actor. I also feel that it is not easy to escape being stereotyped. You just have to find a way.

Coming from a non-filmy background, how would you describe your experience? Is it difficult to make it in this industry for an outsider?

I never started my journey thinking that I am an outsider. I never had a Godfather. I didn’t even have basic contacts who could tell me the best way to even start. I just took the leap of faith and started auditioning. I had a few people from my theatre times who mentored me. They continue to be my mentors even today. They kick-started things for me. Whenever I would audition for something, I would run and tell them. They would then guide me through it.

I would like to mention that in this entire journey, I was lucky to have found the right people at the right time who helped me. I never viewed my journey as an outsider or insider. I wanted to be an actor and I will try to do just that to the best of my capacity.

I did not join the film industry to become a star. That was never my starting point. Every day I want to become a better actor than I was yesterday. I have had my share of downs and some ups that I hold close to my heart. My entire journey has been super enjoyable. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

You are also quite active on social media. How do you deal with negativity and trolls?

It is not easy but I try to not let it affect me. I don’t deal with them at all. I feel it is a waste of energy to engage with them. Most of the time I feel that is exactly what they want. It must take a special kind of energy to wake up in the morning and say something nasty to someone else. I am really not that person. I try to keep my head on my shoulder as much as possible. I am all up for constructive criticism but if you are just going to tell me that I am ugly then I can’t really help it right?

What’s next?

There are actually some very exciting things lined-up but I cannot talk about them now. Last year I got an opportunity to play different characters. This year too you will see me in different characters.

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