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"I felt like I was doing a Bengali film" says Konkana

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Courtesy: IndiaFM
Friday, October 12, 2007

She is referred to as new age Shabana Azmi. And with some scintillating performances in Mr and Mrs Iyyer, Omkara, 15 Park Avenue and Page 3, Konkona Sen Sharma is carving a niche for herself in serious yet mainstream cinema. She shall be seen next in Pradeep Sarkar's Laaga Chunari Mein Daag where she is playing the younger sister of Rani Mukherji. "Badki is a bit of a mother," Konkona says about Rani's character. She has a lot to say about the entire star cast, how she bagged the film and why it has become one of the most special films she has ever done.

What do you think about the music of Laaga Chunari Mein Daag?
I think what's great about the music is that most of the songs have very different flavours from each other. 'Hum to Aise Hain Bhaiya' is very different from the title track Laaga Chunari Mein Daag which is very different from 'Ek Teekhi Teekhi Si Ladki'. So it will appeal to many different kinds of people.

Which is your favourite track from the album?
Its hard to say which is my favourite track because the first time when I heard 'Hum Toh Aise Hai Bhaiya', I thought to myself that this is my favourite track. Then I heard 'Ek Teekhi Teekhi Si Ladki' and I was like that this is the best. I think Laaga Chunari Mein Daag in itself is also really fabulous. In retrospect I think 'Hum Toh Aise Hain Bhaiya' is probably the best track because it has the flavour of Benaras, of the two sisters. It's the beginning of the film and it sets the tone for me. So I think that's my favourite track.

How would you describe your character in the film?
My character's name is Chutki. Her erstwhile name is Shubhavari Sahay but I think she's called that may be once in the whole film. Chutki is a very lively kind of a girl. She is full of life, very intelligent. She has a mind of her own. She has clear views on certain things in life and she is quite uncompromising in her stance, in her outlook towards life in general.

Can you relate to the character in real life?
I do relate to the character Chutki a lot. I would agree with her on every subject but by and large she is someone whose attitude I like, whose vivacity I like and I would like to think that I am like that in some way.

There is a very strong sibling bond shown in the film? Do you share a similar bond with your sibling in real life?
I do have an elder sister and we are very close. My sister is ten years older then me and in the film Rani is supposed to be just a couple of years elder then me. I am very close to my sister but it's a very different kind of a bond. I think the two sisters in this film right from the beginning are very good friends. I think all elder sisters have this where Badki is a bit of a mother, tries to be a little bossy with Chutki sometimes and there are flavors of those elements which I find in my relationship with my sister. For example the scene in which Badki tells Chutki that we have picked her up from the garbage dump and I remember that because my sister used to tell me that when I was a kid. I think sisters and siblings everywhere will relate to that bond which we have shown in the film. I think sisters just become friends at least I am very lucky to have a sister and so are Badki and Chutki.

What was it like working with Pradeep Sarkar?
It was lovely working with him. In the beginning I hadn't quite figured him out so I used to be little scared of him because he has quite a gruff manner. Now, I have realized through the working of the film that he is very sweet and one has to kind of learn to deal with him. Now I can feel affection for him. I don't always take him so seriously but first few days I would be nervous whether I was doing things correctly.

What was the experience of shooting in Benaras like?
We had quite a few location changes for this film. We had Benaras, Switzerland and Bombay and I think the most intense was Benaras. I had gone to Benaras for the first time in my life. That in itself is something because it is such a visually crowded place and the space I think really inspires filmmakers because it is so ancient and because of the river, temple and the ghats. It's unique. We had a superb time shooting there. It was intense, also it was the first time that we all got together, the energy was there. In Bombay what happens is that when you shoot everyone goes back to their own houses and they have their own lives to deal with We didn't have that in Benaras and I think the film actually reflects that.

What was it like working with Jaya Bachchan?
I love working with her. She is just fabulous I responded to her immediately. She is so warm, she is so gracious as a person and I guess there was some kind of connection. In Benaras in the beginning I was a bit lost and she really took me under her wing and I feel so grateful she was very affectionate, caring and I really enjoyed working with her. I wouldn't even say I enjoyed working with her I just enjoyed being with her on set, off set we would have dinner together or whatever it is.

What was it like working with Rani Mukherji?
It was superb working with Rani. I was a big fan of hers before and I remember the first day I met her was at the reading for Laaga Chunari Mein Daag. Very shyly and nervously I told her that I am a big fan of hers and she just laughed very sweetly and I don't even think she even took me seriously. It's a pleasure working with her. She is very professional but she is very much a real person. She doesn't have starry airs and she is not snooty. So, it was difficult for me to reconcile the two images - the Rani I know on screen and the Rani I knew in person. There is so much to learn from her, she is a gifted actress, a great dancer. I think the chemistry we shared shows on screen. I had a lovely time.

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