With Tanhaji, for the first time, you have acted in a period movie.
It was quite surreal for me. It took me a really long time to wear the costume, accessories and get ready for the camera. There was a specialist for draping the Nauvari sari on me while Mickey Contractor did my make-up. Once we got the look, it really felt different. The sets were so beautiful that you got the feeling that you were transported to another era.
Since this is produced by your co-actor and husband Ajay Devgn, how involved were you?
I was not so involved with the production of the film. When Ajay offered me the role of Savitribai, wife of Tanhaji Malusare, my first reaction was ‘you are asking me because I’m free’. His response was that Savitribai was a wonderful character to play and I would be able to do justice to it. When I read the script, I understood it was an important character and I loved her strength.
Such movies are mostly male-driven. Do woman characters face the threat of being insignificant?
It is a film about an episode in Indian history. We are talking about this particular battle (Battle of Sinhagad) that took place in the 17th century and the events leading up to it. I, definitely, don’t have the biggest role in the movie. However, this film couldn’t have been made without any of its characters.
In the recent years, there have been movies that have not shown Mughals in a positive light.
I think we are drawing unnecessary conclusions. There are no such thoughts behind it. It is part of our history. That’s what happened and we are simply showing you episodes in history.
You acted with Devgn after a gap in this movie, which happens to be his 100th.
Initially, we didn’t know it was going to be his 100th movie. On the sets, we are very comfortable with each other. We have done eight movies together — some before we got married and some after. Having him as my producer makes it very convenient if I’m going to be late on the set for some reason. I can just call him up and say ‘sambhal lena’ (handle it). Not that I was reporting late but it’s a comforting thought (laughs). What I appreciate about him as a co-star is that while shooting, half of his mind is paying attention to direction. There are times he would suggest that I should ask for one more take.
Have you thought of directing or writing?
I am not meant to be a director but might write someday. Writing is a solitary process and needs commitment in terms of time. I always think there are not enough hours in a day to do all that I wish to. Also, if I am given the choice between writing a book and reading one, I would opt for the latter. Today, e-books have created a wonderful possibility. I travel with 1,700 books. For a reader like me, this is the most fantastic invention ever after washing machine.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines