What can you tell us about your comeback film Gulmohar?
It’s a family drama with mystery, like how everyone has a secret and at the same time they are all close to each other. It’s a kind of film that you can’t really tell. It is only by seeing the film that you will grasp the essence of it. I play the matriarch of the family. I have a son played by Manoj Bajpayee. He has two children and then there is my husband’s brother played by Amol Palekar and his family. Everyone will identify with this film because every family, every extended family has these actions, reactions and interactions. The music is very good. I appreciated. It was a wonderful experience.
What was it about Gulmohar that made you come back after 11 years?
Because it’s a very interesting role, different from the usual. She’s not just another grandma character. I play myself; I play my age neither older nor younger. The script spoke to me, I was looking forward to working with Manoj Bajpayee. I am a great admirer of him.
You were very picky about the type of roles you chose.
Yes, and it will add to that, touchwood. The public will of course be the judge. I haven’t seen the film because it hasn’t been edited yet. And I didn’t see the monitor because I didn’t want to get confused. If the director said okay, it was okay. But while playing and seeing other people playing around me, it felt extremely real and realistic, not realistic in a boring way, but the emotions were very real. And each character looked very relatable. We called each other by the names of the scripts.
How did Manoj react when he learned that you would play his mother?
It was wonderful to work with him, with his reactions. He internalizes his work. He is very prepared and always in character. So was everyone on the Gulmohar plateau. Simran Bagga is a very accomplished actress; she worked in the South. Adi plays my grandson. Suraj Sharma works in New York. They were always so grateful and smiling. The team had great energy.
The working environment on film sets has changed a lot lately. Was it easier then or now?
I was like a duck to water. It was painless and it felt so good. Our film was shot in houses and it was very real. It wasn’t the vibe of the studio, where you come and go. It was as if we were living together, for a month. I didn’t feel like I was entering an alien world, I felt support and love.
Were you inundated with offers after the Gulmohar news broke?
I’m not on Instagram, and I’m not that available. So, I said yes to Gulmohar and maybe I could do something again if everything works out. It was a very good experience working with the OTT platform, that’s all I will say. It was very organized and very systematic. I liked that.
A chance to see the combination of Kareena Kapoor Khan and Sharmila Tagore in future projects?
You know, the public is very wild. They want to see a good movie at the end of the day. If the collaboration happens organically, that’s a good thing, but no one can force these things. Kareena is working on a nice movie. I’m very happy about it because it’s the first shooting after the confinement and Saif has just finished another film. So, we’re all a family of working actors and we all enjoy our jobs. I did and enjoyed it. Now let’s see how it goes and we’ll take it from there.
How do you cope with the Delhi heat?
Yes, it is very hot here, hot summer. We don’t go out, I don’t go out because of the Covid, I just made this movie and went into my shell. I didn’t even come to Mumbai.
How to kill time when you are in your shell?
I read a lot, watch movies and do interviews on Zoom. I go to Pataudi and spend time with my dogs every Sunday. I’m very busy that way. Let’s see when this horrible situation [pandemic] will be behind us.
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