“I want to portray the feelings of as many women as I can through my acting” says actor Supriya Pathak

Supriya Pathak on the right with Naseeruddin Shah

By Neeru Saluja

Veteran actor Supriya Pathak is interested in telling influential stories of different women characters. The role maybe small or centric, it has to impact the audience and the story.

Supriya as Hansa in ‘Khichdi’

And that is why we love her versatile characters. Be it the elegant ”˜Shabnam’ in Bazaar, the hilarious Hansa in ”˜Khichdi’, the egoistic Dhankor Baa in ”˜Ram Leela’ or the Mogambo mummy in ”˜Jai Mummy Di’, seasoned actor Supriya Pathak has been entertaining us for decades.

She is now assaying the role of the inconsolable wife and mother in ”˜Ramprasad ki Tehrvi’ directed by actor Seema Pahwa and starring Naseeruddin Shah, Konkana Sen, Vikrant Massey and Vinay Pathak.

Congratulations for your next film ”˜Ramprasad ki Tehrvi’ to be the first release of 2021. Please tell us about your role in the film.

Naseeruddin Shah

It’s a story about a gentleman who has passed away and the ritual of mourning for 13 days. It revolves around a family who has been disconnected. They come together for their father’s last rituals and the relationships start getting stitched together. I play the role of the mother and the plot revolves around my journey of losing my companion and friend. It’s a revelation of her story but it is treated not melancholy, it’s like a real life situation. Everyone can relate to it as they would have experienced the mourning of a loved one.

While talking to the director of the film Seema Pahwa, it sounded like all the actors had a blast on the sets. Was it like a real life family situation?

We had a great time working on the sets as we have known each other for years. It was like a huge gathering of people connected to each other with a lot of positivity. We were all trying our level best to make a good film. Even if we were dysfunctional as a family in the film, we were functional on the sets!

What are the key factors that makes you choose a script, even when it came to ”˜Ramprasad ki Tehrvi’?

When I read a script, there are two main factors that I consider. Firstly, what importance does my character play in the plot of the film. And how can I communicate through that character. Secondly, I visualise from the eyes of the audience and ask myself if I enjoyed it. If I don’t understand the script, then how can I communicate the script?

Whether it be the elegant ”˜Shabnam’ in Bazaar, the hilarious Hansa in ”˜Khichdi’, the egoistic Dhankor Baa in ”˜Ram Leela’ or the Mogambo mummy in ”˜Jai Mummy Di’, you have essayed all roles with perfection. But what has been the most challenging role in your acting career?

All of them. Every role is scary in the beginning till you have discovered the character. Once I discover the character, I’m ready to be that person. But till I’m not that person, it’s a challenge.

How is the film industry adapting to the demand of women-centric films and how do you make sure that you play character roles that are meaningful?

I’m interested in telling stories of women characters and how they influence the story. If the role is small or centric, it doesn’t bother me. My main aim is to portray the feelings of as many women as I can through this body that my Lord has given to me. I want to entertain my audience so they need to feel happy and we all have similar problems.

Is there a particular role or character that you would like to portray on the screen?

I don’t want to repeat my characters but I love all of them. I have enjoyed all my roles so far. God has been kind to me. I love acting and entertaining my audience.

You come from a family of talented actors who has seen the ups and downs of the entertainment industry. What have been the most important lessons you have learnt from them, especially in times of hardship and 2020?

I have learnt everything from my family, just like all of us. I’m still in the learning process. I’m learning from my children and grandchildren who teach me something new and a different way of leading life. I constantly aim to be positive and that is what 2020 has taught us. I have enjoyed every moment of my journey.

Reflecting on 2020 and looking forward to 2021, what message would you like to give to our audience with your film?

It’s been a very tough time for everyone in the world. We all need to keep working and be positive in our attitude. Releasing ”˜Ramprasad ki Tehrvi’ on 1 January 2021 is a positive step towards a better tomorrow. I hope and pray that people will start feeling more at ease to go out. The thing that upset me most in 2020 was the lack of trust we have with each other. This whole concept of social distancing, not hugging and being away from your loved ones has created distance. I’m a person who loves chatting for hours with my subzivallah. I have not been able to have a face-to-face conversation with so many people. Hopefully that will go away and this film is a positive step towards 2021.

So watch this film wherever you can. It’s a story told from the heart and acted and scripted from the heart. Have a great year and the new year will being hope and positivity.

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