Amol Palekar (Marathi: अमोल पालेकर; born 24 November 1944) is a well known actor of the 1970s and later a director of notable Hindi and Marathi cinema.
Amol Palekar was born in Mumbai into a Marathi-speaking family. He attended the Sir J. J. School of Art.
Palekar began in Marathi experimental theatre with Satyadev Dubey, and he later started his own group, 'Aniket', in 1972. He introduced Theatre of the Absurd to Maharashtra and a street theatre-inspired practice of performing plays in the round.
He made his debut in 1971 with the noted Marathi film Shantata! Court Chalu Aahe directed by Satyadev Dubey, which started the ‘New Cinema’ Movement in Marathi.
In 1974 he was cast as an actor by Basu Chatterjee in Rajnigandha, and a surprise low-budget hit, Chhoti Si Baat, with none of the conventonal trappings of Bollywood Cinema. This led to many other such roles in "middle-class" comedies, mostly alternative cinema. These were often directed by Chatterjee or Hrishikesh Mukherjee and include such films as Gol Maal and Naram Garam. He won the Filmfare Best Actor Award for Gol Maal.
He is famous for his image of the "middle-class everyman" who struggles to get a job (Gol-Maal), his own flat (Gharonda), a girlfriend/wife (Baaton Baaton Mein), appreciation from his boss, etc.
In 1982 he played the role of "Ravi Chettan" in the acclaimed Malayalam movie Olangal.
His acting is naturalistic and understated, as opposed to the histrionic, melodramatic performances typical of Bollywood. However, he does techniques that have become audience favorites, such as a difficulty with finding words when stressed, almost to the point of stammering. He usually plays "the Good Indian Boy, the kind your mother-in-law would like!"
Interestingly, in his entire career he has never portrayed a Muslim or a Sikh (though he did portray an Indian Catholic in Baaton Baaton Mein in 1977) which is considered de rigueur for mainstream Bollywood stars in order to cultivate the widest possible fan base in a country with substantial minorities.
He turned to directing with the Marathi film Aakriet.
He showed his capabilities as a director with his movie Paheli which was India's official entry in the race for Best Foreign Film at the 2006 Oscars. The movie, however, did not make it to the final nominations.
As an Actor
- Rajnigandha (1974) (Vidya Sinha)
- Chhoti Si Baat (1975) (Vidya Sinha, Asrani, Ashok Kumar)
- Chitchor (1976) (Zarina Wahab)
- Gharonda (1976) (Zarina Wahab)
- Bhumika (1977) (Smita Patil, Naseeruddin Shah, Anant Nag)
- Damaad (1978) (Ranjeeta)
- Baaton Baaton Mein (1979) (Tina Munim, David and others)
- Gol Maal (1979)[Bindiya Goswami]
- Do Ladke Dono Kadke (1979) (Moushumi Chatterji)
- Meri Biwi Ki Shaadi (1979) (Ranjeeta)
- Naram Garam (1981)
- Olangal (Ravi Chattan) (1982) Malayalam
- Shriman Shrimati (1983)
- Rang Birangi (1983) (Parveen Babi)
- Aadmi Aur Aurat (1984)
- Khamosh (1985) (Naseeruddin Shah, Shabana Azmi)
- Jhuthi (Rekha)
- Tarang (Smita Patil)
- Aks (2001)
As a Director
- Aakreit (Unimaginable - Marathi) - 1981
- Anakahi (Unspoken) - 1985
- Thodasa Rumani Ho Jaye - 1990
- Bangarwadi - 1995
- Daayraa (The Square Circle) - 1996
- Anahat (Forever)
- Kairee (Raw mango) - 2001
- Dhyaas Parva (Kal Kaa Aadmi in Hindi) - 2001 (based on Raghunath Karve's life, won the National Award for Best film on family welfare)
- Paheli (Riddle) - 2005
- Quest (Thaang - English) - 2006 (won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in English)
- Samantar (Marathi) - 2009 (with Sharmila Tagore)