Her maiden feature film Masaan made critics take note of her performance and actress Shweta Tripathi says she wants to stay away from “mindless” cinema where she is reduced to being looked upon as an object. Shweta garnered rave reviews for the 2015 Neeraj Ghaywan film where she played the upper-caste lover of Vicky Kaushal’s Dalit character.
The actor finds the cinema of Zoya Akhtar “commercial, yet not insulting your intelligence”, but does not understand mindless films. “I don’t watch the kind of cinema where people say ‘leave your brain at home’ and watch. What is even that? I would never want to be treated as a prop, to be looked on as an object just because of my gender. That I am very sure about,” says Shweta.
“If I am doing something which is making a difference in the story then I’ll do it. But not because I am wearing certain clothes and doing nothing,” she added. Though the National-Award-winning film “Masaan” became her first big release, Shweta had previously worked in the short film Sujata, part of “Shorts”- an anthology of five short films.
It was directed by Shlok Sharma, with whom she is now back with the latest, Haraamkhor. The film chronicles a relationship between a 14-year-old girl, played by Shweta and her tuition teacher, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, in a small town. For the actress, the subject was never an issue and she insists she found out many cases like these once she started talking to people about this.
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“It never worried me at all. But this happens everywhere. When I got out of the cocoon, I realised these are the stories which need to be told. I didn’t think it will run into any controversy, or it’ll have any problem with the Censor Board.” The film, however, did run into trouble with the Examining Committee of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), which declined to pass the movie as the theme was “unacceptable.” “When that happened, I used to call Shlok every now and then. More than frustrating, it was heartbreaking. When there was a meeting with the board, I went there even though I wasn’t needed.”
“When you are trying to do something right, tell an important story to the society without the intention of titilating, then you do ask ‘why us?’ That moment came when the film was stuck.” The film is now scheduled to release this Friday.