When Hobby Changed Her Life

She is a noteworthy actress in Marathi theatre and also doing variety of roles in Marathi and Hindi short films. Acting is not her profession; it is her hobby which she has nurtured since her childhood. Today she is earning money, fame and most importantly a delight from this hobby; And this too at the age of 69. Don’t believe it? But it is not a fiction. This is a true story; story of Mrs. Vanita Vilas Deshpande, a Pune based actress, a grandmother with three grandchildren.

Her native city is Mumbai. From childhood she was attracted to acting,and she took some lessons in acting, dance and folk music,when at the tender age of eight, she joined RashtraSeva Dal. Vanitaji participated in social gatherings of her school and college. As an amateur artist she did act in few plays and skits during Ganesh festival and Navratri festivals. Her talent led her to professional theatre. Her parents supported her and her brother; who was in the film world; also backed her.

Vanitaji got a lead role in a professional Marathi play called ‘MakadachyaHateeKoleet’, that too with none other than the legendary actor Raja Gosawi.The play was a great success and added a new feather in her cap. Then she turned to television and acted in some serials,thanks to her brother NitinMantri. She acted with KiranDudhalkar(‘ShirdeeteelSaibaba’ fame) for State Competition.  Vanitaji was also his co actor in a play ‘Antoday’ that won many awards.  After this, many more plays and roles followed.

But marriage stopped it all of a sudden.Vanitaji entered a new role of home maker and her home and two sons became her world. But urge to act was strong and she did participate in skits or other activities of women’s clubs or Lion’s Club, and also took a lead to conduct someworkshops etc.

As days passed, her sons left for USA for further studies, later got married and settled in USAhappily. Then all of a sudden she faced a cruel blow of life. Her elder son left this world unexpectedly leaving his family devastated. Those were very difficult days. But she did not give up. She consciously engaged herself in conducting coaching classes of Cooking, Baking, Ice cream making, Mehendi,Rangoli etc. and tried to overcome the sorrow.

But her urge to act was very strong. Whenever she watched TV programs she felt restless. So nearly after three decadesVanitajithought of retuning to acting. Initially she did feel that her age was an obstacle. But her husband supported and encouraged her and she tapped her old contacts. Soon, she got roles in nine short films. She faced auditions boldly and acted in state competition plays again.Presently she is acting in a play called Vrindavan. It is worth noting that very recently the play has bagged a second award in a competition held by KamgarKalyan Kendra, Pune and no doubt, Vanitaji too can claim the credit besides other team members.

Her talent earned her money but she is happier with the thought that people recognize her as an actress, and appreciate her talent.Vanitaji’s hobby has given her a sense of fulfillment and calmness.  Acting gave her strength to overcome sorrow and move ahead. She tells young people to explore talent hidden in them. She also advices seniors not to get bogged down by thought of age.“If you have a strong drive, age or education cannot be impediment. However competitive your field may be, always keep your spirit alive. Just be positive and a path will open up for you,” she says.

These words of Vanitaji not only inspire young generation but also pep up her contemporary to pursue their liking or hobby.

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