Actor Nushrratt Bharuccha, on playing the role of a maid in the short film ‘Khilauna’ of Ajeeb Daastaans and the struggles that she is still going through in the entertainment industry, mentions that she learnt mannerisms from her own house help who herself is a very endearing character. Excerpts
How is the pandemic treating you?
I am keeping my fingers crossed and trying to stay safe. Just hoping that things will come back to normal soon. In fact, I was in the middle of the shooting of ‘Ram Setu’, which we had to shut down because cases shot up. I have friends who own gyms, restaurants and salons and they are all stuck because of the Covid situation.
There are larger problems and everybody is going through this together and this pandemic is hitting all industries, not just entertainment. I feel like we really don’t have an option, but to accept the situation the way it is. And try and fight it in the best possible way.
Playing the role of the maid in the short film ‘Khilauna’ of Ajeeb Daastan …
My main reference point was my own house help. I feel the character that I play was very close to her. My help has the same fighting spirit and she is always trying to survive the toughest situations of her life. She doesn’t crib and does all the chores with a smile on her face. The moment she enters our house she brings in a lot of positivity. I found my help to be a very endearing character to take from and learnt her mannerisms. Observing her the most made me understand my character in the film better. As far as the body language is concerned you can watch them do the housework, but just be doing so can’t learn how to sweep or mop the floor properly. So, the lockdown was a learning lesson and helped me learn the skill of jhadoo pocha. I learnt to do all the household chores and it was showing in my body language.
A still from Khilauna
Making it look real…
I simply enjoyed being Meenal. When you pick up a role, you don’t see it as a white, black or grey character because if you do that then you are judging the character right from the beginning. For me the character is not a fictional person, I have to believe that she is real only then can I depict her really. Once I start judging her, I won’t be able to understand her life.
The film shows the divide between haves and have-nots, what do you have to say about it?
This question is universal to all kinds of people. Today wherever I am, there are people above me as well and I also sometimes feel that they have it and I don’t. I feel this constant debate of have and have-not is going to be there for everybody and at every stage of life. If you talk to me as an actor primarily, then I must say five years back I didn’t have these films that I am doing now, but other people had them. So, there is always a tendency of comparing our life with other people’s lives.
Your journey in the entertainment industry…
I wanted my journey in the entertainment industry to be very different from what it is now. I thought that many of my films would do well, but it didn’t. I was disheartened a lot of times. I feel that I am still struggling. Even today I can’t get up and tell you that my struggles are over. I have new struggles now. They are different from what I had two years back, but they are still struggles.