‘There’s one thing very up to date about his outlook. I really like his politics and aesthetics,’ Konkona Sensharma says about working with director Neeraj Ghaywan in Geeli Pucchi, the place she performs a Dalit girl.
A powerhouse of expertise, Konkona Sensharma has planted her foot firmly within the business by exploring the art-house impartial style to its greatest capability, to not overlook her stellar directorial debut A Death In The Gunj which premiered on the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), in 2016.
The winner of two National awards, Sensharma, who proved her mettle with performances in movies like Page 3, Wake Up Sid, Life In A Metro, and Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare, is as soon as once more getting rave evaluations for her efficiency in Geeli Pucchi, one of many brief movies from the just lately launched anthology Ajeeb Daastaans on Netflix. In this brief, directed by Neeraj Ghaywan, Sensharma performs Bharati Mandal, a Dalit manufacturing facility employee whose job, promotion and respectability is threatened when a prettier, upper-caste, fair-skinned all-feminine girl Priya Sharma (Aditi Rao Hydari) joins in. There’s additionally an surprising friendship between the Brahmin white-collar colleague and a Dalit.
Sensharma is clearly thrilled with the suggestions that she has been getting for Geeli Pucchi. “I was dying to work with Ghaywan. I love his work, he is such a modern thinker, there is something very contemporary about his outlook and I love his politics and his aesthetics. And then I got such a cool part…it is very rare that you get such a complex, well-rounded character to play,” says Sensharma. “I’ve typically stated that every one of us have a number of identities…I’m an Indian, I’m a mom, I’m an atheist, I’m a Bengali… all meshed collectively. But typically what occurs in movies is that we choose up only one thread, one angle and we study it from there however in Geeli Pucchi we’re totally different features of every character,” says Sensharma.
She furthers, “Even as Aditi’s character is from a dominant caste, whereas, my character shouldn’t be however each are equally affected by patriarchy which appears to be an excellent leveller. Bharati is a gray character and that’s the fantastic thing about Ajeeb Daastaans. Characters are barely morally ambiguous in these tales. There’s a twist in each story which I really like personally. I used to like Roald Dahl’s twisted tales, and right here too there may be a completely surprising twist in the long run. It is a revenge story, however it’s a revenge which you can perceive. Bharati has tried the whole lot to get what she rightfully deserves. She has a level, she is a tough employee, she requested for a increase however she by no means acquired any of that, she was denied all this repeatedly. There are too many limitations, too many hurdles that she has to beat. She needed to resort to different measures.”
Sensharma additionally agreed to do the undertaking as a result of she discovered “surrounded and supported” by many genuine voices that have been engaged on the movie. “Neeraj himself is a Dalit and he has come out of it. I knew it was an authentic voice which was very important. Not just the director but even among the crew there were lot of different kinds of voices, so we had people from the LGBTQ community, from the Dalit community, we had academicians that were doing research on it, and, of course, we had a lot of women in the crew. I am always happy to read a character that is written with all these different complexities together allowing me to do something that I have never done before. It was also a great responsibility on my shoulder to play the part well and convey the right thing,” says Sensharma. “Also, she furthers, “Playing Bharati was very liberating for me because I had to just to wear those shoes and overalls and not worry about hair, make-up and wardrobe. I felt free and very relaxing in many ways. Hair would be just tied up and that was so easy. I really enjoyed it because then I got more time to spend with everyone and on the role,” she says.
Sensharma says that quite a lot of getting ready went into enjoying the character. Besides referring to the script, she additionally learn books and watched motion pictures to get sure nuances proper. “There have been quite a lot of particulars within the script which was actually useful. Then, Neeraj gave me this implausible ebook to learn referred to as Coming Out as Dalit written by Yashica Dutt. It was an eye-opener for me and I really feel it ought to be learn by everybody as a result of individuals are underneath this notion that the caste system in our nation doesn’t exist anymore. Neeraj additionally instructed me to look at this film, Three Colours: Blue by Krzysztof Kieślowski which I had seen years again. In this movie, the protagonist by no means smiles however Bharati does smile and even jokes. My character is so candy and weak, and that’s what I like about it. I really feel if a personality is offended then you definately don’t have to indicate them offended on a regular basis, as a result of then there may be distinction and it exhibits just one tone and it isn’t an entire, well-rounded character,” she says.
“Then, this stunning lesbian love story referred to as Below Her Mouth had deeply influenced me. I had watched this movie at TIFF after I had gone there for A Death In The Gunj. The movie’s lead actress Erika Linder blew my thoughts and I actually channelled that loads for taking part in Bharati Mandal. I had despatched some photos to Neeraj and my hair and costume division. Of course, she is a Canadian, so the cultural markers are totally different, however the essence of the character is sort of related,” says Sensharma, “I feel there are different kinds of masculinity. Personally; it is not that I feel like a woman all the time. I have a man inside me somewhere. I feel many men must be having a version of a woman inside them. I believe in human gender,” she additional provides.
Sensharma grew up with cinema together with her celebrated actor-director mom Aparna Sen. Her grandfather, Chidananda Dasgupta, a movie critic, was a co-founder of the Calcutta Film Society together with Satyajit Ray. Sensharma made her appearing debut as a baby artiste in a Bengali movie on the age of 4 and additional made her grownup debut in 2000 which was adopted by a job in Rituparna Ghosh’s acclaimed movie Titli reverse Mithun Chakraborty and Aparna Sen. However, until then she wasn’t fairly positive about making her profession within the appearing occupation, and it was solely after she gained a National award for Mr and Mrs Iyer (2002) when she was simply 23 that she began taking her appearing profession critically. “I don’t know the way I lastly discovered a agency footing in cinema. My profession took off from Mr and Mrs Iyer as a result of after the movie and the award, I acquired loads many roles after which it was tough to get out of it. But until then my angle was, ‘Okay, theek hai, I’m doing one or two motion pictures on the facet however now I’ve to look out for an actual job. I used to truly have a look at the classifieds for a job (laughs).”
Sensharma could also be referred to as the totally different house actor who “dreaded” business movies and somebody who has typically urged individuals to assist indie movies. But it isn’t that she hasn’t carried out business motion pictures for large manufacturing homes, with some even turning into big successes on the field workplace. For occasion, Wake Up Sid, reverse Ranbir Kapoor. However, she calls Madhur Bhandarkar’s Page 3 as her first massive business hit, although she agrees that it wasn’t actually a business components movie. She has additionally been a part of Yash Raj banner’s Aaja Nachle and Laga Chunari Mein Daag. When requested if none of those tempted her to chase stardom, pat comes the reply, “I don’t think you can chase stardom, stardom comes to some people and it is both, blessing and a curse. I never got that fame or stardom where people are mobbing you. I never experienced that. My unconventional childhood has affected everything in my life. It has affected the person, who I am, I am not afraid of being different. I am not afraid of having an unpopular opinion; I don’t feel the need to fit in all the time…”
“…but it is not that I have never felt that way. I have felt it when I was younger. Even now, I sometimes feel the need to straighten my curly hair to be acceptable (laughs) which is ridiculous. So one is battling different things at different times. But overall, my unconventional upbringing has given me that kind of confidence. My mother lived her life on her own terms and she has very strong value systems. You don’t have to accept everything that is out there. You can make your own choices, or disagree, or not participate. I am very privileged, I have inherited so many beautiful, liberal values from my family. There is so much respect for other human beings, for their beliefs, for their systems of living, it has been there from my grandparents’ generation. I am very blessed to belong to such a progressive family. We got so much education, women got so much respect.” she says.
“The industry may work on certain perceptions but you don’t have to pay attention to it. At least I don’t have to, I don’t cater to that. It is true that there are labels, there is a certain kind of conventional cinema and that gets a certain amount of money but what can I do beyond a point. I just see my own life, my own work; I am very much an individual. I don’t really know what is happening in the industry, or what the trend is,” she provides.
Her directorial debut could have opened to glowing evaluations however the movie acquired restricted screens and that made her realise that making and selling a distinct segment movie wasn’t straightforward. Probably that’s the reason she shouldn’t be occupied with directing her subsequent.
“The type of movies that I’d wish to make, I don’t know the way simply I’ll get the funding for. It is an enormous course of and quite a lot of arduous work, so except I’m actually dying to make one other movie I don’t suppose I’ll. I’ve determined to not tackle the strain. Also, I’m mainly an actor. I’ve acted in additional than 50 movies and I’ve directed just one characteristic and one brief. I really feel like an actor. Now I get some first rate roles and I’m fairly busy with that. The neatest thing is that I get to work with so many different good actors who by no means acquired their due. There are so many good actors round and I’m so comfortable working with them. But the unhappy half is now we have a lot censorship in our nation that we are able to’t speak about any points any extra. We are solely going to say, ‘Everything is so pretty, the whole lot is so excellent. We can solely work in deep sarcasm,” says Sensharma.
And her face lights up on the point out of Aparna Sen’s subsequent directorial The Rapist, during which she performs one of many central characters together with Arjun Rampal and Tanmay Dhanania. “We just wrapped the film. For a month we were in Delhi, we finished the schedule ahead of time and I came back and got sick. I am so excited and nervous about that film. What an unusual story! How my mother wrote and thought about it I really don’t know. It also has an unusual cast. Obviously, there is a rape in the film but it is just that what all happens afterwards that I wouldn’t have even imagined,” she says.
Talking concerning the time spent within the pandemic, Sensharma says that throughout the second wave of covid she is selling Ajeeb Daastaans, and final yr, throughout the first part of lockdown she was selling Dolly Kitty. “I remember my answers from last year which still hold true (she laughs), “I always knew how to drive but one never really drove much, so during the lockdown last year I started driving a lot more in my neighbourhood. I learnt how to parallel park. I learnt to embrace my curly hair because the salons were closed. Then I adopted a puppy. It has been quite an eventful lockdown and now it is all over again and it is much worse,” she says. “People are having large religious and cultural gatherings, never have I seen something so irresponsible. How can you have political rallies? It is a height of stupidity and irresponsibility,” she asserts signing off.