Rani Mukerji’s Mardaani 2 has hit the theatres and has received some great reviews. Here, in this conversation with indianexpress.com, the versatile actor talks about the importance of portraying empowering women roles, how she channelized her anger through this film and artiste’s responsibility while choosing roles.
Excerpts from the interview:
How did you manage to showcase so much anger in a film like this, and where does it take you on a personal level?
I think the way, we as Bengalis, are brought up, we are grown up in the imagery of Durga, a goddess with ten hands killing Mahisasura. So, I think we have that thing in our minds, subconsciously or consciously, that women are very very strong.
I think the Nirbhaya case changed a lot of things for all of us in the country, we were angered, we were shocked, we were in extreme disbelief that something like this has actually happened to a girl who’s probably living in a city which is full of people, where you can’t even imagine something like this happening, but it actually happened. It was a real incident. I think Mardaani was born through that because somewhere we were all were trying to do something, and Mardaani was my way, as an actor, to be able to express my anger and feel the feeling of demolishing the man who was evil, and that was probably my way of venting out what I had inside me.
Also, as an actor, I wanted to give back to the society. With the kind of love I have received in the last two decades, I wondered what have I done for the women, have I played powerful women roles in my career? I think Mardaani and Mardaani 2 stand for women empowerment in the true sense.
Do you think actors should have a moral responsibility in choosing the roles they portray? You have chosen some very responsible roles in your career as an actor, even now as Shivangi Roy. What has this responsibility meant to you over the years?
I have portrayed content driven films from the very beginning, my film was Raja Ki Aayegi Baarat, then I have done Black and then Yuva, No One Killed Jessica. I have never shied away from doing content based cinema, with a balance of doing other kind of cinemas as well. So, it is a balance, and I have done that throughout my career, so being responsible while choosing films or roles is not something new to me.
Today when I see my baby grow, she is four, and I see her dance and sing, so seeing her, I do feel like doing something lighter. I want to do films which have songs and dance, films that I can make her watch. She loves to see me dance on screen, and I am also getting a feeling that I want to now take a break from content based cinema and do something, just as an actor, in a more entertainment space, and then come back again to this space.
I also feel the need to restart my journey in the romantic space, because I don’t think romance has an age, and I need to do something in that genre. I want to explore that as well.
Since you mentioned your daughter, has she seen any of your films? What kind of films would you like her to grow up watching?
I wouldn’t say films, because I think she is still too young to see my films. She is too attached to be able to detach the person on screen from me. For her, the woman on screen is her mum, and she is not able to see her mum as a character as yet. There is still time for her to be able to do that. But what she enjoys is watching me sing and dance on screen.
You are one female actor who has broken the taboo of age when it comes to female actors getting work after a certain age/marriage/having a baby…
I have not broken that taboo, it is the audience who have broken the taboo, if they were not interested in me, I don’t I would be able to do it.
How important are age appropriate roles for you? What is that one thing you just wouldn’t do on screen, that you did, maybe even five years ago?
I think it is very important to look a certain way to be in films. Whatever character I play, I try to be as true and as close to the character’s demands. So, that’s been a conscious decision on my part as an actor, right from the first film I ever did.
I think people like us, who are the frontrunners in building concept or being a part of cinema, should keep trying to work on breaking the myths and stereotypes that are already ruling people’s minds.
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