Actress Tannishtha Chatterjee says while playing the historic figure of Doctor Rukhmabai, India’s first practising lady doctor, she faced several challenges and had to completely understand the “unsung hero” before stepping into her shoes.
Tannishtha feels Rukhmabai’s achievement should be celebrated in all its glory and says the forthcoming biopic on her will do justice.
“She is a historic figure, an unsung hero. It is sad nobody knows about her but she was India’s first practising lady doctor. We need to celebrate it. When I read the biography I was blown away,” Tannishtha told PTI.
Doctor Rukhmabai is directed by Anant Mahadevan and features Tannishtha in the titular role. The 36-year-old actress says it was tough to play the role, which spans from a young age till Rukhmabai’s death aged 91, as she had to learn several languages to pull off the part.
“This is one of the toughest things that I have done. It wasn’t only about the age, I had to learn Marathi because the first half is in Marathi. It is multi-lingual. We have kept the language true to the character.
“When she is young, she speaks Marathi, she speaks English when she goes to England to study medicine, comes back, establishes a hospital in Gujarat and speaks Gujarati and Hindi. So I had to work on all the languages.”
Tannishtha says she greatly admires the life of Rukhmabai who went against all odds to become a doctor despite facing “major backlash as nobody wanted to go to her for treatment because she was a girl.”
“She fought all the stigmas, lived till she was 91 and went to hospital everyday till she was 90. She got married when she was 11 so she defied her child marriage.
“She fought a court case and the Age of Consent Act of 1891 was changed because of her case, from 12 years it was made 16 years. This life story deserves to be on screen.”
As of now, the actress says the film is travelling to several International festivals before it releases theatrically here.