BEHIND THE SILVER SCREEN
what Silk is’
flower vase. He is that brilliant an actor that
you forget that he is Naseeruddin Shah.
Who is the better kisser — Emraan
Hashmi or Tusshar Kapoor?
I would like to kiss George Clooney.
That’s all I know.
You have worked with Amitabh Bachchan
(Eklavya and Paa) and Naseeruddin Shah.
Who do you think is better?
It is like asking whether your right eye is
more important or your left one. It is
impossible to compare. When people ask
who is your favorite actor, I am very tempted to say these two names.
How was Ekta Kapoor as a producer?
She is fantastic, because her conviction is
very strong. She is really the driving force
behind The Dirty Picture, but more importantly, she respects Milan completely, she
has completely faith in him. She never visited our set.
People speak about her temper….
She has been nice to me ever since Hum
Paanch (Vidya’s television debut) days. I
have had a good relationship with her. I will
only say that I have great admiration for her
because she started off so young. She has
written her own rules and it has worked.
She has just done what she believes in.
Today when I see her I see that much more
confidence in her. She had passion and now
too. Despite all the success and everything,
she is a girl by heart not a woman.
Do you think The Dirty Picture could
hurt your image?
I am just playing a character.
Thankfully, directors are coming to me
with different kinds of roles. Hopefully, I
will get a chance to play a dacoit
Your role in your next film, Kahani, is a
complete contrast. How difficult was it for
you to adapt since you were working in both
That is why I became an actor — to be
able to play different people all the time. It
is the madness in me that makes me happy
by leading other peoples’ lives. In Kahani, I
play a woman who is six months pregnant... It is about a woman who has come
down from London in search of her husband. It is a completely different zone.
It is great when you are living one life and
then you come out of it and are living someone completely different. At the end of
every film I go through those pangs. I get a
little sad because I live someone’s life for so
long and suddenly you know you will never
ever be that person again unless there is a
There is Kahani. After that I haven’t
signed anything. I will take a month’s break
and sleep in January.
I am not ready for marriage, but I believe
in the institution. So, some day I will be
happy to get married.
So, what’s your idea of the ideal man?
An ideal man? That’s difficult to find
to emulate, no MTV, so directors would tell her ‘Chalo abhi kuch
kar (Now, do something)’. Helen’s dances were largely an expres-
sion of her personality. She had freedom.”
Women like Silk Smitha were entirely in the hands of the dance
director, who perhaps had only Helen to copy moves from. So, the
dance that ensued was more choreographed gymnastics.
“Watch Silk Smitha’s sequences and you will find a sense of lingering sorrow. It’s almost as if there were two Silk Smithas there:
One watching her own self dance, detached and dispassionate
about being put through these calisthenics,” says Pinto.
Not that the strain of sorrow has lifted even today. The Kannada
film industry, reacting to allegations of domestic abuse against
married actor Darshan, ganged up to ban his lover Nikita Thukral,
quickly backtracking to reveal a seamy underbelly.
Some film analysts believe Silk Smitha’s sexuality overshadowed her talent
Baskaran says, “What is happening today in the Kannada film
industry is exactly what happened in Tamil Nadu in the 1980s.
Affairs, broken relationships, abuse, exploitation — those who
were rising stars had their careers curtailed when they married,
those who didn’t suffered worse fates. It is what women of the
time dealt with.”
In The Eye of the Serpent, Baskaran spans the eras of films before
they became sheer entertainment — key being as vehicles of
Hindu mythology, social welfare and political propaganda. During
each, upholding mythology-inherited virtues like chastity was an
ideal. As the era of director-led films like Avalum Penthane
(1975) by D Durai, and Aval Appaddithan (1978) by D Rudhraiya
dawned, films began to move towards sheer sensuality. But Tamil
society was stuck in a quandary: Wwomen, the repositories of
social virtue, could not take a 180-degree turn overnight.
Reprinted with permission from Mint. Copyright HT Media Ltd.
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