Sachin Kundalkar (born 1984) is an Indian film director, playwright, and screenplay writer. He is known for his works like Nirop (2007), Out of the Box (2000), Cobalt Blue 2022, and Gandha (2009). He mainly directed films in Marathi cinema.
Sachin Kundalkar was born in 1984 (age 39 years in 2023) in Mumbai, India. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Commerce. Later, Sachin Kundalkar studied at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII). Sachin Kundalkar, at 22 years old, moved to Mumbai in 2006. He gained a scholarship from the French Government which helped him join La Fémis, Paris in 2007.
Parents & Siblings
Sachin Kundalkar’s mother Archana Kundalkar, was born in a small village of Vasai, north of Mumbai, in a poor family with four other siblings. The first story of Gandha, on which Sachin Kundalkar’s Hindi movie debut Aiyyaa is based, is written by his mother. There is not much information about his father and siblings.
Sachin Kundalkar began his career in theatre and made short films before breaking into the mainstream world of Cinema. He was a student at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), when he made his first short film, Out of the Box. In his, Marathi plays Chotyasha Suteet and Pornaviram, Kundalkar has also played homosexual characters. For English audiences, Chotyasha Suteet has been presented as ‘On Vacation’.
Sachin Kundalkar has written and directed plays like ‘Dreams of Taleem’, and ‘Chotyasha Suteet’ (In the Short Break) in the Marathi language. He wrote the play ‘Purnaviram’ (full stop) in the English language. Other than this, he wrote Fridge Madhe Thevlela Prem, and Chandralok Complex, which were directed by Mohit Takalkar, an Indian theatre director, filmmaker, and the co-founder of the theatre company, Aasakta Kalamanch.
Cobalt Blue, a novel containing themes of sexuality, family relations and societal norms was published in the Marathi language in 2006 and republished in the English language in 2013 with a translation by Jerry Pinto, an Indian journalist and writer. After reading the manuscript by Jerry Pinto, Sachin Kundalkar said,
I realised that it was very organically done. It was not technically correct. It was emotionally correct.”
In November 2018, the novel was supposed to be adapted into a feature film for Netflix by the same title. Its streaming was scheduled on 3 December 2021 but was postponed. On 2 April 2022, it finally got released. The film is lyrical and has the essence of Hindi poetry to describe the emotions of the characters.
Awards, Honours, Achievements
- In 2007, Sachin Kundalkar’s film Nirop (2007) was awarded National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Marathi.
- In 2008, his film Gandha was awarded National Film Award for Best Screenplay.
- In 2009, He was awarded the Best Screenplay Award at Pune International Film Festival for his film Gandha (2009).
- The Bath, a 2005 documentary short film was featured at the 30th International LGBT Film Festival in San Francisco and earned second prize in the Short Fiction category offered by the Indian Documentary Producers’ Association (IDPA) for its ‘sensitive depiction of issues of male sexuality’.
- Sachin Kundalkar, who has been interested in filmmaking since his childhood, asked filmmaker Ashutosh Gowarikar, an Indian film director, actor, screenwriter, and filmmaker who produces and directs Hindi cinema, for help. However, the director invited him to return after completing his studies.
- Sachin Kundalkar assisted Sumitra Bhave and Sunil Sukhthankar in their first film, Doghi (1995), which was awarded Best Film on Other Social Issues at the 43rd National Film Awards, Zindagi Zindabad, Bhaais Barabar, and Dahavi Fha.
- Sachin Kundalkar’s first novel, Cobalt Blue concerns a brother and a sister who belong to a traditional Marathi family falling in love with the same man.
- In an interview, when asked about the theme of his film Gulabjaam and his take on urban stories, Sachin Kundalkar said,
In Marathi cinema, they look at cities and urbanisation as a problem. I have accepted urbanisation; I also find the influx and migration beautiful. Throughout the 1990s, I have seen cities changing. People are making different career choices and following their heart. Earlier, there were so many things men could not do. Ditto for women. That’s changing. The gender blend that it has led to is very interesting. We are in a post-feminist world. At my home and in my friends’ circle, everyone does all kinds of chores. I know cases where a husband has taken a sabbatical while the wife supports the family. Gulabjaam, as a movie, celebrates all these.”
- He has also written articles for the Marathi language daily newspaper, Sakal by Sakal Media Group.
- Sachin Kundalakar made a short film, One Cafe Please while he was studying at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) in Pune, Maharashtra, India.
- In an interview, Sachin Kundalkar revealed the cultural experience he gained in Paris and said,
Paris changed me. At 23, I went to Paris to do a four-month workshop. The spirit of Paris made me who I am. That stay changed my understanding of what’s good and bad. I feel like a cultural outsider everywhere. When you give Murata Swarup (concrete form) to your thoughts through a play, novel or film, then people understand you. For people to understand your mind, you must create a body of work. I have the habit of creating stories. I constantly write, but I do not make a movie of everything that I have written. I keep them aside. I take them out later and work on them again.”
- Sachin Kundalakar directed the Marathi romantic drama film ‘Pondicherry’ in 2022 which was captured on an iPhone with the help of the whole production, involving just fifteen cast and crew members.
- Sachin Kundalkar completed his first novel, Cobalt Blue at the age of 22, having begun writing it at 20. He did not know that he was writing a novel until his friends told him. Upon showing it to his friends, he was informed that it was a novel.
- In 2013, Saaz Aggarwal, a journalist at The Hindu, in his article called Sachin Kundalkar’s novel Cobalt Blue,
a high-quality coming-of-age novel that explores the discovery, resulting confusion, and bravado of homosexuality in a hostile environment.”
- In an interview, Sachin Kundalkar revealed his interest in becoming a chef, as he said,
When I was growing up, I learnt cooking from my mother. Since then, I wondered if I should pursue a career as a chef. But I was drawn to filmmaking and didn’t become a chef. I believe that food can be used as a medium of communication.”
- Sachin Kundalkar is known for making personal films. Gulabjaam is the first film he has co-written with Tejas Modak, a Pune-based graphic novelist.
- Sachin Kundalkar talked about his mother as a writer and said,
The first story of Gandha, on which my Hindi movie debut Aiyyaa is based, is written by her. It is the only story written by my mother that has survived. She worked as a typist and her family was poor. So, my grandfather told her that writing is an indulgence of the rich and threw her notebook into a well. This story survived as she had written it on loose sheets. She showed it to me when I was 20. She is writing again but refuses to show me till she is done with it.”