Former Miss Universe and actor Sushmita Sen’s debut web series Aarya came out last week, and if you haven’t watched it or are planning to give it a miss, you are missing out on something worth watching. It has Sen at her best as she plays a loveable wife and doting mother of three. She owns every scene she is a part of, and deals with every emotion, be it disappointment, betrayal, love, anger and frustration, with utmost finesse.
What Sen accomplishes on-screen with Aarya, she hasn’t done that before. Honestly, I haven’t been an admirer of Sushmita Sen – The Actor ever. Rather, I have always gushed about the woman she is in real life. For me, she has always been a vivacious lady who knows her mind. It has always been a treat to hear her talk about life and her daughters, Renee and Alisah. But this strong aura that she exudes on the personal front never got translated onto the silver screen.
Despite her being around in showbiz since the late 90s, people remember Sushmita Sen only as Shah Rukh Khan’s scintillating teacher swaying in a red saree (Main Hoon Na) or as a super-model Rupali falling for her boss Prem (Salman Khan) in Biwi No. 1. Sen was a star who was relegated to being just another pretty face to be wooed and won over by her male counterparts. The era when Sen stepped into Bollywood, scriptwriters and directors didn’t go past the hit idea of a story being woven around a male protagonist and a beautiful actress being used as a prop to uplift his story.
In Biwi No. 1, the opening scene had Sen as a young, attractive, modern and career-oriented woman who leaves her boyfriend (Saif Ali Khan) to pursue her dreams. But after she starts dating the protagonist Prem, she was reduced only to a girlfriend taking care of his needs and nurturing his house. Main Hoon Na, another commercial hit of Sen, gave her little chance to explore the actor in her. Here, she was just an arm candy who had to do nothing more than sharing a few flirtatious glances with SRK. Maine Pyar Kyun Kiya also had her as a secretary putting up with her liar boss (Salman Khan). It was only in crime thriller Samay and heist thriller Aankhen where the audience took notice of her acting, but the two films couldn’t survive at theaters and were soon forgotten.
But what missed the eyes of many filmmakers was noticed by the creators of Aarya, Ram Madhvani and Sandeep Modi. They acknowledged Sushmita Sen’s talent and presented the actor with a platform to fully showcase her acting chops. While promoting the web series, Sushmita had said, “With Aarya, I had to unlearn everything,” and I am happy that she did.
Here’s hoping to see more of Sushmita Sen – The Actor.
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