”˜As an actor push me or don’t take me’ says actress Sandhya Mridul











By Neeru Saluja

She is bold and outspoken, an actress who has always done unconventional roles. She has donned various hats in movies and in television, but she has never settled for the ”˜stereotypical’ woman.
A sister in Saathiya, an ambitious air hostess in Page 3, a wife to a gay man in Honeymoon Travels, talented actress Sandhya Mridul is now wearing the garb of a goddess (as a bold businesswoman) in Pan Nalin’s Angry Indian Goddesses. Touted to be India’s first female buddy film, the movie is about a fresh realistic approach towards today’s Indian women.
The Indian Down Under interviewed director Pan Nalin last year when the film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival. While the film is making it’s Australian presence at the Sydney Film Festival, we chose to interview the gutsy and beautiful actress Sandhya Mridul.
Sandhya, known as Sandy to her friends, was busy shooting for Nikhil Advani’s television series when she gave us time to talk to us about her journey with this film, her passion to act and much more.

Angry Indian Goddesses is creating ripples all over the world. What made you choose to be a part of a female oriented film?
It was quite simple. Dilip Shankar who did the screenplay was very certain that he wanted me for this film. He arranged a meeting with the director Pan Nalin. It was merely a conversation where he told me he wanted to do a film on Indian women and it will include 4-7 women and that it would be their story. He did not have a script for me and wanted to know what I thought about his idea. I instantly liked him as I always wanted to do a women centric film. His idea of a realistic story about Indian women won me over and I said a yes.

You chose a film without seeing the script!
I’ve always been a gut person. I have made a couple of mistakes but that’s how I am. If my heart says go, I jump. For me, doing this film was an obvious choice as my heart instantly said a yes.

Did it ever deter you that you will share the screen with six other actresses?

Not at all. That was actually the most interesting aspect. It’s such a bold thing to make a film on different women and I often tell Pan that he deserves a huge pat on his back for daring to make this film. That is where he got me. Women are far more dramatic and we make great content. And the success of the film has proven my belief.
Pan Nalin made it sure we got along in the film. We all did a ”˜not to act’ workshop to break us down to the basics and see ourselves as human beings and not actresses. We were not acting, we were feeling. And that’s why amongst seven women we never had an argument.

You have taken this film to various festivals. What were the challenges and how has the international audience taken this film keeping in mind the sudden awakening of women in India?
This film was all about the message we wanted to send across the world. It wasn’t a film we acted in and walked away. We didn’t have money, but we had the soul and determination. That’s how we all functioned. We went through tough times when no one wanted to invest in this film, touch or release in the film. The producer Gaurav Dhingra kept at it, we all made the best of our resources and connections. We all did what we could do. The whole crew was so committed to this film until it was released. We made enough noise to make this film happen!
The Toronto Film festival and Rome Film festival helped us a lot as we won the People Choice Award and it was a big deal. As an actress, what people feel has always matter me the most. To see the audience cry, scream and feel a mixed bag of emotions was touching, despite the fact they were not from India. We crossed borders with this film. People came out hugging us telling it is their story, their sister’s story, their girlfriends story. It was the most amazing gift.

Did you face the same reaction in India?

The craze that we created outside India brought us enough attention when we came back home. The film did well in big cities and to be honest we did face a few brickbats. India is a vast country and because of the language barrier we could not hit smaller cities.

So has India finally come to a transformation where we appreciate strong female centric films?
The revolution started a few years ago. I did a short film ”˜That Day after Every Day’ with Anurag Kashyap where I play the role of a karate teacher. Cinema in itself is changing since the past 3-4 years. Richa had a strong role in Masaan, Nimrat Kaur had a strong role in Lunchbox. They are not only about being beautiful. It’s good as I have always aimed for these kind of roles.

Since the start of your career with Banegi Apni Baat and Swabhimaan on television, we have seen you playing the role of an independent woman. Is that the real Sandhya?

Banegi Apni Baat and Swabhimaan was the start of my career. They were my first acting projects and I started them a week apart. Yes that’s how I am in real life. I’m always a tough woman from outside. I wouldn’t repeat the same roles. I would go hungry but not repeat the same character. I constantly fought what I wanted. As an actor please push me, or don’t take me. I express that very loudly, because these roles give me meat. I don’t like dressing up or wearing a lot of make-up.

So what’s next after Angry Indian Godessess (AIG)?
I’ve committed my whole soul to the Indian version of television series ”˜Homeland’ made by Nikhil Advani till January. I have never been a planner. When I’m in something, I dedicate my whole soul to it. This television series is going to be path breaking for television in India. He is going to connect to audience in a different way.

And how will AIG connect to the audience ”“ be it men or women?
This film will be a crash course for men if they want to know their women. AIG is a little bit of push for women who are on the edge and want to get out there without any explanation. So every man or woman should definitely watch this film!

Short URL: https://indiandownunder.com.au/?p=6973