In the beginning of her career she was told not to audition for a role due to her “dark skin” and the incident left her disheartened, but Sonali Kulkarni says she has now grown confident about herself as an actor as well as an individual. The actor says, while some in the film industry are obsessed with fair skin and conventionally pretty faces, there were people who motivated her to focus on her craft.

“There have been people who have told me, ‘Why have I come for audition? You know dark skin doesn’t look good on camera’. I was in class 11 at that time and I did not know anything about dark skin. I was busy doing theatre. But that comment created lot of stir and complex within me. “My friend, philosopher and guide Pandit Satyadev Dubey, under whom I was studying theatre for 20 years, had told me ‘There is no fear as long as you accept that yourself.’ The films have given me enough amount of glamour, accolades, great work and wealth. There is nothing to repent about anything,” Sonali told PTI.

The 43-year-old critically-acclaimed actor says the dejection she initially faced in her career pushed her to become a better version of herself. “I am thankful to that nasty comment as it made me think about myself, like ‘How do I look? Who am I? What is being Indian?’ “I had thought about these things pretty early in my life, so now I feel powerful about myself, about my beauty and about being Indian. I am proudly a middle class self-valued person,” she adds.

Sonali believes she has come a long way from being an aspiring young actor, willing to show her versatility, to a mature performer, who does not try too hard to prove herself. “Earlier I wanted to exhibit my capabilities as an actor and show an array of emotions. But today I am not in a hurry to showcase my versatility. I am more confident and easy with myself.

“I was in a hurry to prove myself but today I don’t look at proving myself with a film. The more you accept life, the wiser you are as a person and as an actor,” she says. The actor, who is known for her performance in films like “Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya”, “Dil Chahta Hai”, “Singham”, “Deool”, “The Good Road” and “Kaccha Limbu”, believes observation is the key to make characters “look relatable”. “There is an observer in me who works hard and tirelessly. Many a times, your study is in your observation. My study also depends on being with the storyline.”