Sisters in celluloid

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By A 10-year age gap hasn?t stopped actress Padmini Kohlapure and sister Tejaswini from bonding over films and their life together AS TOLD TO SANGHAMITRA BHOWMIK
  • Published 26.02.05

Padmini Kolhapure is remembered for her performances in films like Prem Rog, Satyam Shivam Sundaram, Gehrayee and Souten. She started her career as a child artist and over the next 20 years, enjoyed a long stretch in the limelight. However, despite having hits like Pyaar Jhukta Nahin and Hum Kissise Kum Nahin among others to her credit, Padmini quit acting after she got married.

Today, this mother of two runs her own acting school, The Padmini Kolhapure school of acting, with branches in Delhi, London and Mumbai. And having proved her skills as an entrepreneur, she is now trying her hand at theatre. She is also slated to make her comeback with Karan Razdan?s film, Eight.

Although 10 years younger, Padmini?s sister Tejaswini is following in her elder sister?s footsteps. She made an unconventional debut in Zee TV?s critically-acclaimed serial Mujhe Chand Chahiye and then tried her luck on the ramp. It was only after this that she took a plunge into Bollywood with Anurag Kashyap?s Paanch. The film is yet to see the light of day but Tejaswini has moved on and will be seen in the film Daag for the first time.

Padmini on Tejaswini

Teju and I have a huge 10-year age gap. I was already working full-time when Teju was busy with school and her friends. As a kid, I was close to Shivangi, the eldest among us. In fact, we were always close. Teju, however, was to us the annoying brat, whom we always tried to avoid.

By the time Teju was 10, I was already established in the film industry and didn?t quite enjoy having a little sister tagging along. She, on her part, always wanted to accompany me to film parties and shoots but I hated the idea. We were at different stages of life at that point of time.

I remember as kids, Shivangi and I used to bully Teju a lot. There was this one time when we put her in a lift all alone and then Shivangi stood on the ground floor and I on the 4th floor and kept sending the lift up and down. Teju was hysterical and kept crying. But the louder she cried, the more we continued.

Now of course, things have changed and we have become very close. We live together with our parents and my family and it is now that I am getting to know Teju. She is a great girl and very talented and passionate about acting. In fact, I am very proud of her achievements. Having had a start in TV, she broke convention and joined theatre before stepping into Bollywood.

Of course, as a sister, who has seen the ups and downs of this industry, my advice to her is that it is your performance and perseverance that pays off. The competition today is far fiercer. In my time, there were only about four to five big actresses but now there are more than a hundred vying for a particular job. I always tell Teju to be positive and be focused on her goal.

Tejaswini on Padmini

As a kid I couldn?t relate to Padmini. She was far older than me and by the time I understood anything, she was already an established actress. In fact, I was so caught up with my school, friends and games, that I hardly realised what a big star she was. I was blissfully happy in my own world and Padmini and Shivangi were in the background and so, in that sense I didn?t miss out on the bonding.

In fact, I used to despise Padmini as she refused to take me to the many filmi parties she went to. Also, when she was around, all she did was bully me, which made me dislike her all the more. But now since we have started staying together, we have become very close. It?s when I started my acting career that I realised what a big star Padmini was, when I heard people talk about her and her films. That?s when I started seeing her films.

Like all elder sisters, Padmini too has been very supportive of my career. She is always available for advice and is willing to sit down and teach me things about acting. I know there are bound to be comparisons between us but she was from a totally different era.

I have learned a lot from Padmini and in many ways, she is my idol. I wish to be like her, both professionally and personally. Unlike me, Padmini is more calm and diplomatic. I am hot-headed and impulsive in my actions. She always tells me to relax and chill as in an industry like ours, it?s all too easy for a person to lose his/her bearings.