It’s a rainy afternoon in Mumbai, and she steps out waiting for her cab to arrive. Only when she gets in, she realises that it’s a pool cab and her date will have to wait till she completes the trip with co-passengers. The girl, played by Konkana Sen Sharma, is from the latest short film by Eros Now, A Monsoon Date.
The 20-minute film unfolds with long silences, and fewer dialogues, except for the cab driver, who makes small talk with his cab customers. Konkana, who plays the unnamed girl, smiles, exchanges comforting looks with her co-passengers, acknowledges the driver’s banter and speaks when required. It’s only when she reaches the coffee shop to meet her date, a young man played by Priyanshu Painyuli, that the narrative throws a surprise at the audience.
Although there are hints dropped through flashbacks during the ride, it’s revealed only at the end that Konkana’s character is actually of a trans-woman. “This film really appealed to me,” says Konkana, speaking about A Monsoon Date. “I loved the premise and I loved the script. I had never played a character like this before. The story is beautifully written, and it’s so moving. I had no hesitation, and I really wanted to do it,” she adds.
Directed by Tanuja Chandra and written by Gazal Dhaliwal, the film’s strength on-screen is in its performances, and certainly, the way Konkana portrays the lead role. An actress who is always known for her insightful performances, she reveals what went into the preparation for the role.“Firstly, I related to the character as a human being, to begin with.
I could understand where she was coming from. Most people are looking for love, and she’s seeking love as well. But to further understand her character, I had a lot of sessions with Tanuja and Ghazal. We did readings, discussions and rehearsals. I also tried to comprehend from Ghazal what all experiences my character had been through, because by the time the audience sees her, she’s already a woman. I created a history of her in my head, and it really helped me. I did meet a trans-woman, but I can’t reveal much about her,” says the actress, whose last film as a writer-director, A Death In The Gunj, won a lot of accolades.
Behind the scenes
However, Konkana is an artiste who likes to underplay her talent. When asked if going behind the camera was a natural progression for her, she offers, “I never planned to write or direct, it’s something that happened to me along the way. It was an organic movement, I was fascinated with this particular story, and I found myself compelled by it, and I had already started developing it in my head. That’s how it occurred, very naturally.”Despite being discreet in choosing her roles and films, Konkana has always etched a special place in the minds of audiences.
Her two upcoming films this year — Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare, for which she teams up with Lipstick Under My Burkha director Alankrita Srivastava, and Pind Daan by actor Seema Pahwa — touch upon real-life situations. “Pind Daan is an ensemble film about a family in Lucknow that comes together for an event, while Dolly Kitty is about two women and how they impact each other’s lives,” reveals the actor.