A brief chit-chat with Lipika Varma from Sampurn Media follows-
Ash literary seems to be in awe with Mani Ratnam who launched her in Iruvar in 1997. “I must thank and credit Mani sir for having conceptualized this awesome character for me. I had it all for me. My character Ragini has to perform dances, stunts as well as facing the brunt of the weird character Raavan. Believe me; I had to perform in the dense, dark and a dangerous forest crawling with snakes, leeches and all the possible creepy critters. Mani sir would wake us up at sharp 5a.m. All of us would go on a Reiki and come back by eight and had to be ready for our first shot. Mani sir is so polite he would always say 'be your real self". Laughs aloud and adds, “We had to perform our real self amidst the snakes, leeches and the other creepy animals. But I must thank Mani sir for making me look so very real without a pinch of make up."
She goes on to add about her character that, “Ragini is a power-packed character in the sense that I had to be doing every bit myself [which of course was my choice] right from the stunts to getting muddy and swinging all over the sea side holding a rope. Not only this, we would also perform in horrifying climatic conditions with rain pouring cats and dogs. But it was fun, pleasure and work rolled into one. Nonetheless, Mani Sir would be standing at all odd hours to our rescue.
“Secondly this character is a discovery for me - in true sense that I discovered my new self."
Well! Can her character be compared to Sita then, we quiz? “Actually this film can not be compared to any mythology as such. The title Raavan has been taken just because he behaves badly. There is no co-relation to any epic as such. This Raavan is a man who can also have good qualities as well as bad qualities. At one moment he can be acting as a cool dude while the very next moment he can be behaving in an obnoxious manner. Yes! On reel Abhishek performs in an imbalanced manner. But by the end of the day we are husband and a wife we do not discuss much about our filmy affairs once we are off the set. So all the discussions pertaining to our characters would begin the moment we stepped onto the set only."
Was Abhishek not fearful of Ash performing such dangerous stunts? “It was our choice and to tell you the fact we enjoyed doing it all by ourselves. Although Mani sir did not want his actors to perform any such stunts. One thing I liked about Mani sir he would tell me 'look how fast Abhi and the others can do the dance steps and other serious stunts"?" she replied to Abhishek"s answer while Abhi told us that Mani sir always praised Ash"s quick responses."
In short, both husband and wife [Abhishek and Ash] seemed to be in total awe of Mani Ratnam. To this the quick witted Ash replies, “Yes! To an extent that while I was busy shooting with Mani sir for Guru he kept visualizing me in the character [Ragini] which had started conceptualizing in his mind at the time of making Guru.
Coming to her dancing style Ash says, “I really enjoyed dancing in this movie. At times I would just freak out dancing, keeping in mind the wonderful dancing style of Waheeda Rehman in film Guide. I had a lot of fun, satisfaction for a simple reason that Mani sir would ask us to just perform in the most casual manner, enjoying the character but yet it had to be so very real."
Talking about the so called assumption by the media, that Raavan has 4 climaxes. However, Ash denies the story rubbishing it and tabooing it to be a cooked tale. “Infact Mani sir is one director who would not like to leave any scenes unfinished. He loves to complete a scene in totality before going to another"
She further adds, “I had to face the challenge of performing both in Hindi as well as Tamil. It is not an easy task. If Mani sir would recollect something of Hindi take he would immediately ask us to shift to Hindi dialogues while we would be busy muttering our Tamil dialogues. I would understand my Tamil dialogues and also would learn the dialogues of my co actor in order to emote accordingly. So all in all switching in and out of these two languages was challenging and interesting indeed.
Having got married to the Bachchans" family Ash says, “When a girl comes into another family it is her responsibility to keep up to the family status. So yes! Like any other married ladies she too is professional. She has to become even more mature after getting married." “My professional and family liabilities are different but I need to handle both with enough care to strike a balance between the two. I am also luck y to have got married into a family who have supported me and my career fully well."
It is time to wait and watch out for one of the biggest movies to hit the screens this year, and after the Music Launch, the anticipation graph has shot skywards!
So at last the long wait for Mani Ratnam"s Raavan seems to have come to an end. Film Raavan"s music launch was held recently with great pomp and show. Live performances by Abhishek Bachchan were indeed exuberant. While Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan draped in a glittery white sari with red border not only added a serene look to her beauty but added loads of charm to her persona. Ash anchored the event with great poise although managed it at a short notice indeed. She had just flown from abroad.