What persuaded you to play Nutan Tandon (a character based on Nupur Talwar) in Talvar?
When I was offered the role, I found that I couldn’t turn it down. The idea of playing this character was exciting. There are all these questions about — did she do it? Did she not do it? Was she an accomplice? It was challenging to play the role because I always had to maintain a fine balance of guilt and innocence, since the movie approaches the same set of facts with three different scenarios.
After movies such as Omkara, Saat Khoon Maaf and Ek Thi Daayan, you are once again working with Vishal Bhardwaj. Does such a long association help when you’re on the sets?
Vishalji inspires confidence. If he is helming a project, I know it will be of a certain quality, and that subject will be sensitively handled.
Some of your best work has been with your mother, Aparna Sen. Does she know how to push your buttons as an actor?
I think so. But that’s not the only thing. With her, making a movie is not about money. She is very creatively driven and her prep work is very thorough. That’s not the case with a lot of other films that I’ve acted in. So it’s very comforting to work with her, because I know that she will bring her certain artistic integrity to it. It’s also complicated as we could have fights, which we will bring to work.
You’ve written your own script, called Death in the Ganj.
Yes, but that’s a working title. As a project, it’s still in the nascent stages, so I can’t talk about it. I will start pitching it for real once my work on Talvar is over. It’s based on real life events, set in 1979. It’s a very dark, moody piece. I will direct it, of course, but it is hard to find financial backing, unless you have a big star. It’s sad that this happens, because you need all kinds of films for a good creative environment.
Did you enjoy the writing process?
In retrospect, yes, I think I did. I have this sense of accomplishment. Initially, I wanted to find someone else to do the writing, but I knew the subject so well, that I knew I would do justice to it. But it takes a lot of discipline to write. It’s one of those things that you would never do, unless you are bound to it. The more constraints there are, the more creative one can get. I could write only in the three hours in the morning when my son was at school, so I didn’t waste my time.
You’ve been a lot more active in Bengali cinema than in Hindi. Does the former offer more creative freedom?
I’ve actually found a lot more depth and variety in the roles I’ve been offered in Bengali cinema. Also, I had a lucky streak where I was offered some wonderful work. There was Goynar Baksho, which had elements of magic realism. Then Kadambari, where I played Tagore’s sister-in-law, Kadambari Devi. That is an intriguing story, because there is so much speculation about their relationship, and the fact that she committed suicide after he got married. I also worked on a film called Shesher Kobita, which is based on a short story by Tagore.
You recently announced the news of your separation from Ranvir Shorey on Twitter. Why did you choose this platform?
There’s already been too much speculation in the media and all sorts of stories have been written. I thought I would just mention it on Twitter, because I don’t have anything else to say or share about the matter.