‘Playing this role was unnerving’
By BNS | Published: 19th June 2017 10:31 PM |
Sridevi is all excited to be back with her next film Mom after a four year gap. The actress speaks about her character, co-stars, director and her daughters, Jhanvi and Khushi.
Why did it take you such a long time to sign a film after English Vinglish?
I got busy with my daughters; they are growing up and needed me. I did English Vinglish when they were in school. R. Balki and Gauri Shinde are Boney ji’s friend, so we planned the shoot during my daughters’ school vacation. Then my daughters went to America for studies.
Boney ji told me to listen to this story. The concept is interesting and I really liked it. I asked him to start working on the script and then narrate it to me. It took them a year to develop it, then they signed director Ravi Udyawar and we met again. So technically I am coming back to films after two years, since it took that long to finalise things.
How much could you relate to your character in Mom?
Playing this character was unnerving. As a mother, it was disturbing to be in that mother’s situation. One quality which I could relate to is that she is a very strong person, giving her hundred per cent to everything she does. Ravi and Manish Malhotra have worked on my look in the film. I tried to be in the character’s shoes as much as possible, and followed Ravi’s vision.
Did you give any inputs during the making?
We were all together in it. I’d give inputs and suggestions whenever I felt like it. Jhanvi had suggested Adnan Siddiqui’s name for the father’s role. We wanted someone who’d look fresh and suitable for the role. She showed us his photos and we finalised him. Though we kept giving suggestions, Ravi was very patient and listened to everyone. He is smart; he would listen to all the inputs and make his own decisions.
How was it to work with him?
He is an amazing person. I can’t imagine anybody else directing this film. He is so involved in his work and made our work easier for us. This film is very dear to him since it is his first film. But once you see the film, you won’t feel it is his first film. He is a rare combination of someone who knows modern technique and and is also well versed in Indian cinema, with its family values and sentiments. It really worked well for this film.
What about your co-stars?
I am lucky I got to work with two talented actors like Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Akshaye Khanna. Nawaz is a great actor. His get up was so good that on first day of shoot with him, I didn’t recognise him. I asked the director where he was when he was standing right next to me! He would spend four hours on his make-up and it was really tough for him. But he never complained, nor would he leave early. As for Akshaye, he’s such a strong performer that, if he is in the frame, I am sure nobody will notice the other actors.
Was there any film which was offered to you that you couldn’t do?
There are many films which came to me. I normally don’t like to talk about why I couldn’t do a particular movie, though. Somebody’s done the role and the film has released, so why talk about it? There could be many reasons for not doing a movie. For instance, my elder daughter was going to higher standards in school. There were many issues that she could’ve faced. As a mother I wanted to be available for her during this period. One has to decide one’s priority. Even if you like a script and want to be part of it, you have to sacrifice to be a mother first.
What kind of bond do you share with your daughters, Jhanvi and Khushi?
We are like friends; they don’t really treat me like a mom. I don’t keep a check on them because I feel then there is no trust in the relationship. I am very lucky that they know what is right and what is wrong, they know their limits.
Sometimes I’ll call them when they are out with friends, just to make sure they’re okay. Throughout the day, even if I am shooting, I keep calling them. Boney ji, too, calls them when I am shooting. They don’t go for night outs much, but when they do, one of us will wait for them to come home. Until they come home and wish me good night with a kiss, I cannot sleep.
Does it bother you as parent that every other day there is some buzz about Jhanvi?
Yes, it does. Recently, she got very upset with some rumours. She was lying on the bed, sulking. I went up to her and told her, ‘Welcome to this world. Be ready for this if you have chosen this as a career.’