Tell us something about the character you are portraying in the film (slated to release in India on Aug 18.).
My character is called Aalia. She is a Muslim girl, who had two choices before her, either to stay in her country or leave for Pakistan. She is a very strong character to play who is an educated girl, does a job, responsible for her family and also very progressive. The strength of the character is the thing which I loved the most. It is a very quiet strength that the role possesses and was fun to portray her in the film.
How much research work you had to go through for a film which dates back to 1947?
To be honest, I had to do a lot of research work and take preparation in terms of how to play this character, speak in a particular way, for instance, in those days English spoken was very particular and in the film we were talking in that language. I had to watch a lot of YouTube videos like those of Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit’s and others’ in that era just to see what they spoke, how they wore their clothes, their hair, makeup and styling. There were people who worked for three years on how this film as well as the characters were to be styled. In the film, there is a saree which was draped in a particular way, for eg. my outfit which is seen in the picture (film) has an emblem on it which the costume designer had a discussion with others whether it should be on the left or right while historically it was about to be bang at the centre. When one is a part of a film like that, things are very consuming because of long hours shoot and lot of preparations. It was exciting because everyone is coming from different country and various methods of acting.
What made you choose the film? Script or the character?
It was a bit of both. I loved the script because it is so beautiful and all the characters are so well defined. It is also a very different way of looking at our history. This film is made by the British Punjabi filmmaker (Gurinder Chadha) who is also a woman. She has also a very unique perspective to make this script. When I read the script, I realised this type of film is not made before, partition is not viewed this way which is very interesting. 70 years after our Independence, we need to revisit lot of scenes of our history and relocate where we are today. I think as a country or a culture, we need to sort of go back and revisit those values again. In that sense, I was really attracted to the subject. Aalia is a beautiful character to play who has strength, lot of earthiness and clarity. She is a very interesting female character to play.
How was your working experience with the female director in the film?
It was amazing. She is a very strong personality. I like working with strong people. I think it pushes one to a limit, to excel and do better. In my equation or relationship with her, we sort of managed to do that. Many times we argued with each other regarding different things. One such argument took place during dubbing, when I argued with her over how Aalia should pronounce the word Gandhiji. But I think it is the kind of a creative process because the give and take between the director and the actor is important. I have been really blessed to work with some good directors in my life and grown as an actor because of all these interactions with them.
Partition: 1947 is your first international project. Are you looking forward for more?
If something is interesting, why not! I have never gone chasing West or like that for films. I always chase creativity, good scripts so if there is such a script in Bangla (Bengali) or anything, I will go for it.