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Friday, August 06, 2021

With Sherni, I added a new chapter to my career: Sharat Saxena

Sherni actor Sharat Saxena, who is all praise for director Amit Masurkar, spoke about the difference between working on the new-age cinema and a commercial film.

Written by A. Kameshwari | New Delhi |
Updated: June 30, 2021 9:30:03 pm
Sharat Saxena in SherniSharat Saxena in Amit Masurkar's Sherni. (Photo: Sharat Saxena/Instagram)

For Sharat Saxena, the opportunity of starring in Sherni, which came to him “out of the blue”, became a moment to cherish forever. Sharat, who has featured in several films such as Mr India, Shaan, Agneepath and others, played the role of a hunter named Ranjan Rajhans aka Pintu Bhaiyya in the Vidya Balan starrer. His performance received a lot of praise from the audience as well as critics. Talking about the film, the actor said that he always wanted to feature in such kind of cinema but he didn’t get an opportunity before.

In an interview with indianexpress.com, Sharat expressed that he is forever indebted to director Amit Masurkar for introducing him to a new genre and for adding “a new chapter” to his career.

He was all praise for the director and his “natural” and “unconditional” kind of filmmaking. “I have worked with most of the directors in the film industry but have never worked with a director like Amit Masurkar before. I might say I am fortunate that I got to work with him. He is a new generation director, a new type of director. He is an unconventional filmmaker who makes a natural film. Things are not embellished, not dramatised (unlike commercial cinema). He makes a film that mirrors a normal life,” Sharat told indianexpress.com.

The actor compared his experience of working in a typical Bollywood commercial film to how Amit Masurkar directorial was being shot.

“I have worked in films that are highly dramatic and commercial. In commercial (Bollywood) films, there has to be songs and fight sequences right after a couple of scenes. I had worked in around 300 such films. But this is the first time when nothing of that sort was happening. This is the kind of film I always wanted to be a part of but with my kind of face, I never got the opportunity,” he expressed.

Sharat said because he didn’t work with many newbie directors, before shooting for the film, he had a little chat with Amit to know what he expects out of him.

Sherni A candid still of Sharat Saxena from the sets of Sherni. (Photo: Amit Masurkar/Instagram)

“These days in a film the main lead goes through the entire film with one expression. This is the new cinema, which is very effective. I asked Amit how he wants me to be on screen for Sherni because in the films I worked on earlier, the director wanted me to change my expression every minute. “Aap kya kar rahe hai saab? Aapka expression nahi hai,” I would be told.

Sherni film A still featuring Sharat with Vidya Balan. (Photo: Amit Masurkar/Instagram)

They always want you to give more expressions than required. When I told this to Amit, he started laughing and said, ‘Sir it will be nice if you give expressions as required.’ After the film released, a lot of people noticed and appreciated my work in this film. People have come up to me and told me that I have done a much better job in this film as compared to the 300 films I did before. And that happened only because I did not change my expression too often. I kept it under control. In Sherni, my work is very natural and I am grateful to the director for that,” the 71-year-old voiced.

But how did he land the role? “This opportunity came to be very out of the blue,” he replied.

“Amit saw me, where I live. He saw me going to the gym. He decided I would be suitable for the role of Pintu in the film. He took the effort to locate me, call me, meet me and give me the role. I am indebted to him and always will be because he has put me in a different genre of films. I appreciate him. He is the kind of director who will become more and more popular in the industry henceforth,” Sharat conveyed.

Sharat’s character in Sherni cannot be termed as the typical antagonist. However, in the setup of the film, he was an influential negative character with a screen presence as strong as Vidya.

When questioned what was his first reaction to the script and his character, Sharat replied, “I liked my character. It was a powerful character and the second most important in the film. I wanted to work in the film. When I read the script, I found it the most unusual.”

He spoke about how in a commercial film, the script is written as the film is being shot but Sherni’s writing was “complete even on the script level.”

“In the commercial film, first of all, it is very rare for the actors to have a script. It is all about improvisation. The need for the script is very little because 50 per cent of the time there is a dance sequence, which is taken over by the choreographer and 30 per cent is action, which is taken over by the action choreographer. That is how a commercial film works. The director only guides,” Sharat said adding that in Sherni, “there were no songs, no action and only one director – Amit Masurkar. The script was complete since day one. Nothing to be added, nothing to be subtracted. It was a complete film even on the script level.”

On a concluded note, we asked him how he would describe his second innings as an actor.

“It has been nice. My second innings started about 15 years back with Saathiya. I started playing old man roles. Saathiya kickstarted my journey of recovery. Till Saathiya, I was seen as a fighter. After Saathiya, people started offering me character roles that had the scope of performing. I was being offered roles where I could act. But with this film (Sherni), I think I added a new chapter to my career,” said Sharat as he signed off.

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