I Am Inclined Towards Women Centric Films!
The gorgeous AAHANA KUMRA has surely packed a punch with her powerful performance as Leela in the lm Lipstick Under My Burkha. No wonder, she has received much kudos. Currently, she has been entertaining the audience not only on TV but also lms and now webseries. Read on as the talented actor gets candid with Shivani Bisht about her career, lms and more…
Your role in Lipstick Under My Burkha was unconventional. How challenging was it for you to play that role?
I am glad that you used the word ‘unconventional’ and not ‘bold’ because that is usually the word I come across. Well I would not only credit the writer but also the director for writing all the roles in the film in an unconventional manner. What I found interesting about that part was that it was very close to who we are as girls, there are certain ways in which we pressurize ourselves but life may not cater to our fancies and may not follow our plans because life has its own plans. Also, there are often small rebellions that we may win. Like if my father tells me, don’t wear
a short skirt and I wear a short skirt and go out or if my mother asks me not to go out at night and I still go out, it’s a big rebellion in my head. It may be a very small rebellion from the perspective of a victory, but I feel it makes us live our lives the way we want to. My character appeared to be interesting as despite all the odds, she wanted to live her own life and wanted to be able to see her life in a positive light.
Are you inclined towards women centric films?
I am. I think it’s a very good space to be in right now because there are some very interesting roles coming up. Earlier there weren’t enough roles for women showing them in a position of power. Heroines didn’t have much to do earlier. But the good part now is that they have been given equal weightage as men and I think the equations have changed a lot. So there are good parts and it is just about what you identify with.
Amidst your busy schedule do you still find time for theatre?
I do. I have been doing theatre since I was 14, it’s interesting to see what comes on stage after a whole process which starts from the first reading to the end result. The process of shaping up a script and bringing it to life is a great task and I love being a part of it. Also currently, I am a part of a play and I go for the rehearsals whenever I can.
You had posted your bikini pictures online. Did you face any backlash? How do you deal with body shaming?
I did face a lot of backlash. I read a first few comments and there were many mean comments like ‘Go to the gym’ and ‘You’re really fat’. I have
I didn’t think that a bikini photograph of mine would get so many reactions.”
never considered myself as a fat person and have eaten and worn whatever I’ve wanted to. I didn’t think that a photograph of mine would get so many reactions. I didn’t understand why people were so mean. It started affecting me because I actually started questioning myself and my body and I was asking myself, am I really that fat, should I question every food that I eat or anything that I put into my body. So I stopped reading the comments after a point of time and I felt better about it. And I now know that these things happen and I have not let these things affect me or come in the way of my work after that.
Can you tell us about your experience working in your latest web series Ithappenedin HongKong?
It was perhaps one of the best experiences I’ve had because my team was fantastic. We had only two actors, I have never worked in a two actor setup. I have worked where there are multiple setups and actors around you. So the good thing about this story is that it’s revolving around two people and we were the ones who could make it interesting or boring. I had a lot of conversations with my director about the thought process of my character and I think that has really worked well. Also I have travelled a lot, met a lot of people and so I wanted to make it as real as possible and not make it philosophical. I think my experience of the show has been really nice and I think Lakshya is a really smart director to work with, and I really enjoyed the process.
What makes you give a nod to a project?
If there is nothing for me to do in a role, its a no. I definitely don’t want to sit in a frame and look pretty.
What was that decision that turned out to be the turning point of your life?
I think doing Lipstick was a turning point in my life. The decision was really big because I was limiting myself before that and I was really scared of getting stereotyped. I think women are either objectified or one needs to join serious cinema to maintain their image. There’s nothing in the middle. They will never tell you that ‘ Ap toh all-rounder ho, ki aap ye bhi kar sakte ho.’ If Akshay Kumar can do comedy and can be an action hero at the same time, it’s okay. He is called an allrounder because he is a male actor but for a woman to be able to do everything, is not easy. They easily get type casted. And Lipstick was different and doing a role which had challenging intimate scenes and not letting that affect me made me a stronger actor.
In an interview you mentioned about how even talking about sex scenes are awkward for you to talk in real life, so were you nervous while enacting the scenes?
I was very nervous and not sure about if it was going to be well received. Alankrita threw in a lot of situations which were not in the script and she was like I feel this is important in the film so do it. And I had to be comfortable doing them. And I think Vikrant, my co-actor was equally nervous but it worked well.
How was your experience working with Alankrita?
It was quite interesting actually because she is somebody who knows what she wants and if she doesn’t get it, she will ask you to do it like a hundred times. She will make sure that she gets her shot right and I think as a lady director this is very interesting because I knew the only thing she cares about during the shot is for me to get my scene right. And I feel that has made all four of us be 100 percent comfortable while shooting for the film.
When do you think you will be able to say that you have got your dues as an actor?
I think I will be able to answer that when I do enough roles and hopefully, not the same kind of roles and get parts which I could be proud of.
Can you tell us about your future projects?
I am doing a film called The Accidental Prime Minister but I am not allowed to talk much about it. It’s an interesting part and I am really grateful to the makers for considering me. I am also reading more scripts and trying to figure out what I want to do next because it’s not easy for a woman who is not from a filmi background in the Hindi film industry to get roles it you don’t know many producers or directors. But of course, I’m also looking at other good roles.
Any message for your Stardust readers?
Stardust is now featuring a lot more actors and that is very interesting. So thank you so much for supporting actors like us and I am eternally grateful to our viewers to appreciate us for the kind of work that we are doing.
I think women are either objectified or one needs to join serious cinema to maintain their image.”