Amol Palekar gained popularity in the Marathi experimental theatre, especially for introducing the theatre of the absurd. A fine theatre and film actor, Amol Palekar, shone in both the commercial and auteur cinema. He had worked with the kinds of Basu Chatterjee, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Shyam Benegal, Balu Mahendra, Kumar Sahani and others. He has also acted in some of his own films.
His first film was Akriet (1981) in Marathi. It was based on the screenplay by Vijay Tendulkar and featured himself and his wife Chitra in the lead roles. It is a fast paced film with violence and suspense. The next film was released in the year 1984 was Ankahee in Hindi. The film dealt with superstition and fatalism. It starred Palekar and Deepti Naval. The music was composed by Jaidev. In 1990 he made Thodasa Rumani Ho Jaye for television. This particular telefilm is considered to be a part of the auteur films.
As an actor he was seen a number of films including Gol Maal, Gharonda, Bhumika, Kolangal, Tarang, Rajanigandha, Chhoti Si Baat, Khamosh, Baaton Baaton Mein, Chitchor and others. In his life span as an actor he has worked the best possible directors of his era.
In 1995 Palekar presented to the world of cinema his next venture, Bangarwadi. It was produced by NFDC and Doordarshan. It is a charming, humorous little film set in the 1940s. In 1996 Palekar's Dayera in Hindi, with remarkable actor Nirmal Pandey and the ravishing Sonali Kulkarni, was a great critical success. The film's somewhat iconoclastic theme is very much an integral part of the various avatars of Hindi divinities. Kairee presents a gentle insight of a child's perception of the brutalities of the adult world. His last directorial venture till date in Hindi is Paheli featuring Shahrukh Khan and Rani Mukherjee. It has adapted from a Marathi play and deals with women empowerment to some extent. The magic of the film lies in its simple, rather a kind of fairytale, storyline.
As an Actor
||Chhoti Si Baat
||Shriman Shrimati, Rang Birangi
||Tarang, Aadmi Aur Aura
||Bhumika, Taxi Taxie
||Baat Ban Jaye
||Baaton Baaton Mein, Gol Maal, Do Ladke Dono Kadke, Meri Biwi Ki Shaadi
||Aanchal, Apne Paraye
As a Director
||Aakreit (Unimaginable in Marathi)
||Quest (English) - (won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in English)
||Thodasa Rumani Ho Jaye
||Samaantar (Marathi) - (with Sharmila Tagore)
||Daayraa (The Square Circle)
||And Once Again
||Dhoosar (Marathi) - (won the Maharashtra State Film Award)
||Kairee (Raw mango), Dhyaas Parva (Kal Kaa Aadmi in Hindi) - (based on Raghunath Karve's life, won the National Award for Best film on family welfare)