By: Subhash K. Jha, IndiaFM
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
"Imagine, a Reddy is a star in Ghosh-land. It was a challenge and I'm glad I proved equal to it" chuckles Sameera. Sameera may be a Reddy, but she seems to have found unexpected fame in Bengal, what with one of the region's most prominent directors Buddhadeb Dasgupta having taken a fancy to her.
Sameera starred in Dasgupta's Kaal Pursh and now in Me Yasim and Madubala which tackles the prickly subject of voyeurism and the invasion of private feminine space through the intrusive male gaze. The quasi-satire now heads for Toronto for the Festival in September.
The actress who has lately assumed the mantle of a social activist is much gratified. "I'm going to Toronto on 8th September. I guess this is a time of remarkable reckoning in my career. While Kaal Purush has just won the National award for Best Film, Me Yasim&Madhubala where I play Madhubala, is going to the Toronto Film Festival. Dada (Dasgupta) is a master moviemaker. Me Yasim... is rightly in the very prestigious 'Masters' section in Toronto. Buddhadeb Dasgupta's confidence in me has given me great confidence as an actress. You know we were having a press conference for Kaal Purush when he announced, 'Sameera is doing my next film'. That's how I got to know I was doing a second film with Dada. Everyone discouraged him from signing a glamorous Mumbai actress in a deglamorized role. Today I'm seen as more Bengali than the Bengali actresses in Kolkata. After doing two films with me in Bengali he's now planning a third Bengali film with me."
Kolkata is abuzz with stories of how Sameera has become the new Smita Patil. "If I am Dada's muse I'm too flattered to be embarrassed," she laughs in pleasure. "I can never say no to Dada. I'm doing his second film and will do a third and as many as he wants me to. I'm putty in his hands."
Sameera will be at the Toronto Film Festival with not just Dasgupta's quirky film but also Mira Nair's short-film on Aids Migration. "Two films at the same festival...I couldn't ask for more."
As for being feted as a Bengali actress Sameera shrugs, "Have you seen Chak De India? Can we stop being praant (state)-fixated? Indian cinema is no longer about just Bollywood. I'm proud to be doing films in Hindi, Bengali Telugu and Tamil. And please bring on more languages. Recently, I shot in Pondicherry people reached out to me about my South film."