After doing masala Bollywood flicks like Musafir and Naksha, Sameera Reddy stunned everyone with her performance in Bengali film Kaalpurush, which she did with National Award-winning director Buddhadeb Dasgupta. And now, she is doing a Bong film with him yet again. Then there's also Mira Nair's short film on Aids commissioned by the Bill&Melinda Gates Foundation.
Dodging between mainstream and parallel cinema, the smoldering actress confirms that she wants the best of both worlds!
Working with Buddhadeb Dasgupta would have been a different experience as compared to other Bollywood filmmakers...
You bet it! He is world renowned, especially on the international festivals circuit. Working with him has been fantastic because he has won so many awards. So to be very honest, I was a bit intimidated when I started off, but it has been a real learning experience from the first film to the second. He taught me a lot during our first film and by the second film, it was a smooth sail.
And the association happens once again
Well dada saab just loved me in the first film and the second script had already been given to me. He already told me that he wanted to do his second film with me.
What does the Bengali title sound like?
The film is titled Ami, Iyasin Aar Aamar Madhubala (which means Me, Iyasin and Madhubala). The English title for foreign festivals is 'The Voyeurs'
So is the film about voyeurism?
Yes, it is. It's a fantastic script because it deals with the fact that today a person's private life is invaded. It is a very sweet story which deals with a very harsh topic. Bengali cinema is not really commercial. It is very arty cinema and has a very subtle way of dealing with emotions and expressions.
What is the Madhubala connection?
I play the role of a woman who is supposed to be the impression of yesteryear actress Madhubala. She comes from a small town to become an actress. Her dreams get shattered when she sees how the real world is today, for someone who is not ready for the city life. It is a very beautiful role and it is also to do with a person's private phase, and how today due to cameras, internet, webcams and all the modern technology, one doesn't have any privacy. Iyasin, the guy who falls in love with me, is obsessed with Madhubala. He has never loved any woman in his life because he believes that he can't love anyone else but her. I am the first girl he observes in whom he can see Madhubala - in her face, in her eyes, in the way she moves and dances.
Who has played the role of Iyasin?
Iyasin is played by a guy named is Amitabho. He is an actor from Kolkata.
Voyeurism is a very sensitive issue, which not many people are aware of. How has it been dealt with?
The director has dealt with it very sensitively. He is not accusing the person who is putting the camera in my room. He is not portraying me as the victim. In the film he has basically explained "why". This man is just in love with me and he doesn't know how to approach me. He is a very lonely man. It is very beautiful because it talks about why some people want to delve into other's personal lives, because they don't have a life of their own. So the director has showed both points of view.
Did you have any trouble speaking in Bengali, considering you're South Indian?
Although I don't know Bengali, I love it and I think it is a very sweet language. I delivered a 24-line dialogue in Bengali - in one take. It was 8 pages long because every word had to be translated for me since it was very important. The director wanted it in one take. It was so difficult - I was panicking before the shot! But what is amazing is that when you get into the character, the lines just come to you and flow.