In an exclusive conversation with indianexpress.com, Sushmita Sen spoke about #MeToo movement, her comeback and how life is equivalent to walking on the ramp for her. The actor walked for the designer duo Bhumika and Jyoti at FDCI India Fashion Week.
Here are excerpts:
Q. What inspires you to be who you are?
By god grace, I have been given a life which is so celebrated by people. Every time I want to be mediocre at something or want to have an attitude of “chalega” in my life in regard to anything, I remember there are so many people who expect me to do much better. I think that expectation and love is why I want to give 100% in everything I do. I live an inspired life. It is in my nature to give my all in everything I do.
Q. You started your career with modelling. So, whenever you walk the ramp, does it feel like the first time?
It (ramp) is my first love. I have always said that. I started walking on the ramp when I was sixteen. The first time I stepped on it, my knees were shaking and my fingers went cold but I thought to myself, ‘What’s the big deal! It is just one straight path and you have to walk on it and come back.’ That is when I realised the stage holds its own energy and you feel it when you are on it. My mother tells me that I am like an anxious child backstage but when I am on stage, I transform and it is unbelievable for her to believe that it’s her daughter. So, for me, ramp taught me at a very young age about how to give and receive the energy. So, whenever I get the chance to live this energy, I grab it.
Q. So, you deal life with the same attitude?
That is actually true. Life for me and everything in it is give and take of energy. That is why I surround myself with good people, good energy and step away from not so good energy. I am like a sponge. I absorb. So, I rather absorb positivity.
Q. Many actors are turning to producing, writing and what not. You’ve stayed aloof from the industry. Is there a reason? Any plans to make a comeback. If yes, with what sort of script?
Behind the camera, maybe sometime in my life when I feel I am ready to tell a story. Not just be a part of it but to tell it. 2019 is my year of making a comeback, for sure. Like my fans have missed me, I have missed them too. It is a different kind of energy and reaction. I do not regret being away for 8-9 years because I have grown and evolved. I am now itching to bring that feeling and energy back on the screen. So, yes.
Q. What will you say about the kind of films and scripts gaining importance?
I do not necessarily like or promote the idea of women centric films. Good cinema is good cinema. However, the reason we focus on the term is because the industry has been male dominated for so long. It is lovely to see a woman shouldering a film and a script needing that. This is the best time ever since I have joined the industry in 1996 to be in cinema, for actors coming from all gender. Script has become the king and the way the story telling has progressed, it is exciting.
Q. You have inspired so many people. So many women. What do you feel about the #MeToo movement that has knocked on the doors of Bollywood?
Well, we would be blind if we thought this never happened in Bollywood. Even if it has not happened to you, we cannot be ignorant of the fact that it happens in every position of power. It is not limited to Bollywood but in every sector where one would see powerful people and people who abuse the power. I am very happy that women are speaking up. But how many of us are listening, that is the part of this campaign that I am not so sure of because you need a certain conditioning to understand and act upon it. If you still continue to listen to stories with great excitement because they mean nothing but gossip for you and then say, ‘This does not concern me or I will stay out of it because I don’t know what the truth is,’ then the entire courage women are showing about their stories and horrific things that have happened to them goes wasted. I hope that does not happen to them.
Q. Do you share the bad side of this glamour world with your kids?
I don’t tell them only about the industry but tell them the bad side of the world. It exists everywhere. I do inform them. They are very well informed. However, I also believe that everyone has to make their own mistakes. There is no greater lesson you learn from your own life experiences. So yes, my children will learn theirs too.