Chandrakant Kulkarni is a Marathi actor, director and playwright. He was born on 15 October 1963 in Marathwada (Maharashtra) to a poor family deriving their living from farming. It was his mother’s strong resolve to get a good education for her children that made the family move to Aurangabad and allowed him to complete his schooling. His zest for language won him many awards in debate competitions and more. He went on to do his graduation from the Government College in Aurangabad. Here, he was fortunate to be a part of ‘Jigisha’, a theater group which was became quite famous in the Marathi film and theater industry.
On a quest to enter the film industry, he moved to Mumbai and soon enough, in 1991, emerged as the director of all the three plays - Chandralekha's 'Rang Maza Vegla', Shree Chintamani's 'Charchaughi' and Ashwami Theatre's 'Doctor Tumhisuddha',) to have been nominated in the category of Best Professional Play. In 1994, he became the first Indian director to direct the infamous eight-hour trilogy play titled Wada Chirebandi. The play consisted of three parts - Wada Chirebandi, Magna Talyakathi and Yuganta. It was written by Mahesh Elkunchwar and produced by "Awishkar".
Other than this, he has directed more than sixty-five phenomenal plays, including the Marathi, Gujarati and Hindi version of Gandhi Virudha Gandhi, a play about the differences between the Mahatma and his son, Harilal. The English version of the play was directed by
Feroz Abbas Khan
and eventually became the root of his 2007 film ‘Gandhi, My Father’.
Directly, Kulkarni, entered films as an actor in ‘Bangarwadi’, 1995’s National Award-winning film. Five years later, in 1999 he made his directorial debut with an all-women cast and thriller film ‘Bindhaast’. The film won him the Filmfare in the Best Director category. In 2005, he directed his first hit comedy film titled ‘Kaydyacha Bola’. In 2008, he directed his first Hindi film ‘
Meerabai Not Out
’ which failed at doing good business.
By far, his best work has been in the 2012 film titled ‘Tukaram’. The film was a biopic on the life of the Varakari saint Tukaram and won him the Best Director Award at the Annual Colors Screen Awards. Kulkarni is the proud recipient of the Natyadarpan Award which was bestowed upon him as a result of geeting the award for the Best Director for "Dhyanimani" and also for the Best Experimental Director for “Yelkot”.
He has also won the following awards - “Maharashtra Rajya Sanskrutik Puraskar”, "Marathwada Sahiyta Puraskar", “Maitrey Puraskar”, “Mahanagar Puraskar”, and “Mahindra Nataraj Puraskar”, for the outstanding offerings he has given to the Marathi theater.
Unfortunately, his personal life did not climb the same ladder of success as his career did. He tied the knot with actress Sonali Kukarni but in very little time their marriage ended in divorce.