Actor Akansha Ranjan Kapoor’s debut project, the Netflix original Guilty opened to good reviews. Her performance in the film has been appreciated because of the relatability of her character Tanu. In this interview with indianexpress.com, Akansha speaks about what went into preparing for the role, and why it was important for her to wear her character skin deep.
Here are excerpts from the interview:
Q. What kind of feedback have you been receiving for Guilty?
I knew that I would give it my all when I get my first film, and it has come through. People are actually acknowledging it and appreciating it. So, I genuinely feel on top of the moon because I really worked hard for this. I am generally very excited with the feedback I have received for Guilty.
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No. 1 in India, No. 1 in Pakistan & Bangladesh, No. 2 in Mauritius (and counting)… we’re all so grateful and overwhelmed because of the amount of love we are receiving from you guys and critics, alike. Its unreal how so many women have opened up to us about things like this in their past and their own experiences. I’m so glad Tanu is encouraging women to be who the hell they want to be and our movie has started so many conversations. My first ever endeavour and the outcome has been humbling. We’re over the moon with the response and its only BEEN TWO DAYS!!!! Thank you all for loving, relating to, and empathising with #Guilty PS- I’ve been reading every comment and DM and tweet and lets just say yall have made me the happiest girl everrrrrr!!!! 🙏🏼🙏🏼💃🏻💃🏻💗🌈🌈 Special mention to @karanjohar @somenmishra @apoorva1972 @netflix_in @srishtibehlarya .. THANK YOU!!
Q. What are the specific things people have told you about your role?
The kind of feedback I have been receiving is that, they forgot it was me. When my family told me that, I didn’t believe them thinking that family members always say nice things. People have told me that they felt they were not seeing me, but the character. They forgot that I am a girl from Mumbai and thought I belonged to a small town. So, I am glad that the little observations I made, and how I prepared for my role worked. In no situation I wanted to come across as fake. Even if my accent or body language is a little off, no one would buy the character.
I am also glad that girls are connecting to Tanu. They have come to me and told me things like, ‘because of Tanu, I want to tell you what happened to me…’ They are actually opening up to me. So all this has been a little overwhelming but I am also very happy.
Q. How did you prepare for the role, the accent? You also had to gain weight. Also, do you relate to Tanu at all?
On a very basic level, I understand her and hope to be like her. But when I read the character, she is nothing like me. For physical preparation, yes, I had to gain weight, I had to learn the way she talks, the way she sits, the way she walks. Apart from that I think it was not just about gaining weight and wearing those clothes, it was deeper, I had to be comfortable in my character’s skin. I felt like every thing I did to play this character, I had to own it, because if you don’t own it, you can’t come across as authentic.
I had to be mindful to empathise with her, because if I didn’t, nobody else would. In person, I constantly need validation, I need to know how I am looking, what I am wearing, is it looking good on me… The first few days I used to wear a jacked over what I wore as Tanu, I was so uncomfortable. But Tanu is so confident, she does not feel the need for any kind of validation, so to be Tanu, I had to be confident too, and it was tad tough for sure.
Also read | Guilty movie review
Q. Guilty has in a way restarted the conversation around the #MeToo movement.
It is definitely a responsibility. We didn’t know it would, but we were hoping that it starts some kind of conversation, so we had to be very sensitive to the topic and make sure that we are delivering it in the right way. I guess, we did touch the pulse of the people, in a way they did empathise with the girl with how things are happening around us. So, we are overwhelmed. Who doesn’t want to speak to the audience with their work? It is every actor’s dream. And to be able to do that in my first film, it feels great, I feel grateful.
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