actress made a comeback with Kal, lingered for a while and then caught the critics‚ eye with Parzania. Now, she's ready for her second stint with Bollywood, experimenting with different roles and different genres.
Sarika will be seen next in Rajat Kapoor's Bheja Fry, a comedy diametrically opposite her earlier film, the serious Parzania.
"Unfortunately, I am not in the comedy parts though I wish I was. The comedy in the film is absolutely brilliant," she says.
Bheja Fry was shot in 18 days and has taken low-budget to a new low. "I was surprised that somebody can do a film for a budget of Rs 50 lakhs and that too in 2006!"
Given the low budget, didn't it become difficult to improvise? For example, do another take. "I don't think so. The subject could do justice to the film without any compromises. It's a story of one night in one location. So, as much as 80 per cent of the film is in one location in one night. That's why it was easy to shoot it," Sarika reveals.
The characters she plays in Bheja Fry and Parzania are very different from each other. But there must be some common vein. Isn't it more convincing if a performer has some parts of himself or herself in the character? "I, for one, prefer not having any part of me in the character. If the role's just an extension of you, you're not a good performer. I find it more challenging when the character I play is as different from me as possible." Sarika says the entire point of being an actor is living so many different lives as so many different characters. "That's one privilege that an actor has and a non-actor doesn't."
Point taken. Is it more difficult to hold the audience's attention when pitted against a seasoned actor like Naseeruddin Shah? "When you have a good actor, it only adds to your performance. I don't like actors that go out of their character and try to steal the show. When you have a good actor, he's not insecure, and when he's not insecure, he's not going to make life difficult. It's only those that are not good who play dirty."
That's straightforward. When Sarika left acting for matrimony, times were different. Competition was much less and roles for an actress were more or less limited. Now, with greater competition and change in people's outlook, has acting become more challenging? "Challenging yes, but more fun too. Earlier, every mother would be in a white sari, you would have barely met the hero and a song would start. We would dance in 40 degrees heat. Today, it's more like real life. Or there are extremes like Sanjay Leela Bhansali films. Cinema should be either real or complete fantasy. And that is what's happening these days. It's a good trend," says the mother of two daughters.
A little known fact about Sarika is that she won a National Award for her costume designing in Hey Ram. Is that talent going waste? "I think I have done enough there. I did it for a very long time, and because I worked on period films, I had done a lot of work. Costume designing and make-up are two things that are highly abused in Indian cinema. They are only for looking good, and nothing more. They aren't customized to the characters. Even before I received the National Award I had decided to quit costume designing." That's as far as career goes. In her personal life, Sarika has been considered an unconventional woman. She began a relationship with a much-married Kamal Haasan and got pregnant out of wedlock. It takes guts to follow your heart. "I don't figure myself out nor do I try to figure my life out. You never give in, you have to fight, because even life wants to see how far you can be pushed. You just do what you feel is right," she avers.
According to the actress, she has just begun in Bollywood. She's discarded her old profile and has culled her previous works for good memories. "I want to buy myself 20 more years between me and my audience. I want people to know me 15 years from now. I have just begun," she enthuses.In that case, welcome to Bollywood.
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