SHEKHAR GAVE CATE A BE­GIN­NING

Rem­i­nisc­ing their in­nu­mer­able fights fondly, Cate Blanchett says work­ing with Ka­pur was the turn­ing point of her ca­reer

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Front Page - HIMIKA CHAUD­HURI

You would ex­pect Hol­ly­wood ac­tor Cate Blanchett to be gor­geous. And she is! At a sem­i­nar in the city she de­fines classy ca­sual with a sneak­ers-paired-with-blazer look and Len­non glasses. But she bowls you over with her witty straight talk. And of the half-hour talk ses­sion in which she speaks of her jour­ney as an ac­tor, film­maker Shekhar Ka­pur re­mains at the cen­tre of her con­ver­sa­tion.

“Meet­ing and work­ing with Shekhar was the turn­ing point in my ca­reer,” she says, when asked to list her favourite direc­tors. The 46-year-old ac­tor worked with Ka­pur in his pe­riod film El­iz­a­beth (1998) that be­came her big ticket en­try into Hol­ly­wood, and got her no­ticed. “I was just do­ing a play in Aus­tralia when he found me and got me to play the role. He fought for me through­out... Some­times all you need is for one per­son to be­lieve in you, to give you a be­gin­ning, Shekhar was that per­son in my life,” she says.

Asked if it was tough for her to get into the char­ac­ter of the 16th cen­tury Queen of Eng­land for the film, she says, “I am a pas­sion­ate lover of history and was pas­sion­ate about the history of El­iz­a­beth. Shekhar couldn’t care less. He was just so ex­cited that In­dia and Aus­tralia (where Cate comes from) were both colonised by the Bri­tish, and we were recre­at­ing their history.” But recre­at­ing history on cel­lu­loid wasn’t easy, she says, “We fought the whole way while making the film, but those were healthy fights.”

Cate’s last film, Carol, spoke of a re­la­tion­ship be­tween two women in the 1950s. Talk­ing about the film, she says, “Yes, it’s like Fire (1996 film that starred Sha­bana Azmi and Nan­dita Das).” Clearly, her knowl­edge of In­dian films is not re­stricted to Ka­pur and his works alone.

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