You have been seen in several women-oriented films of late -- do you feel these films will make a change in our country and cinema?
I have been a part of two very strong and good women-centric films -- Parched and Angry Indian Goddesses. Yes, Rough Book was also female-centric and then there was Island City. UnIndian is a romantic comedy but my part of an independent woman was strong and well-etched. I feel we are already in the midst of change. It’s a wonderful feeling for all of us.
When you look back down the years, how has the position of women changed?
Many things have changed in the last several decades. There was a time when women did not have voting rights. I don’t think many women from my mom’s generation would have travelled alone at night. There is a lot of change from my grand mom’s generation to what we are today. We have changed many things externally. But there are certain basic battles which still remain, and it will take a much longer time to change. Popular culture is a very good way to bring about change; and that’s why as a woman artist we want to bring women related stories.
You have won several major awards. Is that what gives you creative satisfaction?
As an actor, I don’t work keeping in mind that I am going to win an award. I take up risky projects and I don’t know what the end product will be. I want to have an interesting journey -- one which I haven’t walked before. If I get awards or validation, it’s fantastic; it feels even better. When I won the National Award for Dekh Indian Circus, I did not even know that the film had been submitted for the National Awards. The day the awards were announced, a friend of mine called me and said ‘Watch Doordarshan!’ I was in a middle of a meeting so I didn’t. Then he texted me ‘You won a National award!’ and I had to take a break from the meeting. It’s really nice but I don’t work for awards.
In Parched, you have worked with two other actresses - Radhika Apte and Surveen Chawla. What were your interactions like ... are they competitive or is there a spirit of sisterhood?
Apart from two other main actresses, I have worked with many other actresses and assistants in Parched. When you live in an isolated location for three months, you become close. We all are creative people and friendship is about accepting that we disagree in certain areas but moving on from those disagreements and being able to appreciate each other. I think we had a beautiful journey.
Malala Yousafzai has said, ‘We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced.’ Comment.
Yes, I think it’s high time that we all speak up and speak exactly what we want to convey. This goes for men and women both. I don’t think it’s just a problem of feminism or only of women. Men also battle a lot of different issues where they can’t speak up.