At 40-plus you are still bagging lead roles. Is the Hindi film industry finally looking at women in a new light?
Honestly, I don’t feel 40 at all and maybe that is why people don’t look at me like that also! Women are getting powerful roles in the Hindi film industry now. I mean look at Vidya Balan, the kind of work that she is doing is fantastic! Earlier there was a stigma that you are married and you have kids, so your career in films is over! But that is over now!
So, we have come a long way, but we still need to work harder to get to the place where women in the industry are not forced to bow out because of age or family compulsions. Things are definitely changing here, though we still have a long way to go. In the West people like Meryl Streep get roles written for them at 60. Women get meaty roles even when they are past 60 or 70. We haven’t gotten there yet, but we are surely on our way to change.
You play a cop in Durgamati. What made you take up this role?
I play a Bengali CBI officer who interrogates Durgamati. You know, I was pretty tired of doing sensuous roles over and over again! It was the same drill in film after film! It just needed to stop. The horror-thriller genre is something I hadn’t explored before simply because no one offered me a role like this. So, when this came to me, I was ready to go with full gusto!
The script is very important for me. And so is the production house. Because, when you really work hard on a film and it does not reach most people, then all the effort goes down the drain. But the key deciding factor is always the role I am being offered. If it’s a big film but I have nothing much to do in it, then that doesn’t excite me enough. I play a Bengali woman here and I kept telling Jisshu (Jisshu Sengupta) to help me with a little bit of Bengali and he actually helped me with several nuances!
Durgamati is a remake of the 2018 Telugu film Bhaagamathie. How are you planning to deal with the inevitable comparisons?
While preparing for the role, the director told me that I must watch the original film once. Initially, I didn’t want to because I was scared that I might begin to copy the other actor. I did watch it, but worked on different nuances to build my character. I did it in a different way. In a Hindi film the look, the feel, the dialogue delivery, everything is different. We have different ways of doing things.
Now, with most movies releasing on the OTT platforms, do you miss the big-screen premieres?
For me, cinema will always be my first love! I do miss the big screen. I have grown up watching films on the big screen and I miss it terribly. But having said that, we have to be practical. I have always maintained that OTT is the future, no one can deny that! Every person is now glued to his phone or smart TV watching a variety of content online. And we also have so much content available now, which is again a big thing. So much scope to work as well!
Do you think Indian content is finally coming of age?
With time, yes! There are interesting plots being written that are exploring more than just drug-lords or underworld equations! We see a lot of content on social issues and also life as we see it now-a-days. Also, humour is going to work wonders. I am positive there will be more variety in future.
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