Excerpts from a candid conversation with the firebrand actress who over the years has learnt to mind her ps and qs …
What attracted you to a project like Tribhanga?
I loved the script, I absolutely loved the script. I heard about five drafts of this script. Every time I heard this script, it resonated with every part of me. I loved the fact that all these strong women were put together in an interesting project. So yeah, it was everything put together that excited me about the film.
Did you identify with your character in any which way?
I did identify with Anu a lot. I thought there is something amazingly unfiltered about her. She has a lot of opinions, most of which I agree with. Not all though. There’s a lot of me in Anu. And a lot of Anu in me.
Do mothers and daughters always have tumultuous relationships? What sort of an equation did you have with your mother?
I think all mothers and daughters have a very unique, a very complex relationship. Not easy at all. And I think it’s more like an umbilical cord which cannot be broken. Bad, good, whatever your mother is, whatever your daughter is, there is something you have to resolve. You can’t leave it unattended or break it off completely either. There will always be something that will be missing in your life if you don’t resolve it. As far as my relationship with my mother is concerned, I have had the most wonderful, wonderful relationship with my mom. I never went through teenage rebellion. I rebelled against the whole world except her. She was always behind me and cheered me on. So I have had an absolutely amazing relationship with my mom. But I can understand her being such an opinionated and an individualistic person. I can understand where it could have gone horribly wrong, if we hadn’t been who we are and talked it out. So I understand Nayan (Tanvi Azmi) and Anu (Kajol’s character) because of that.
You had to say lots of cuss words in the film. How comfortable were you about that?
Honestly, I don’t use gaalis in real life. But I have a lot of people around me, who use it as a natural part of their vocabulary. Honestly, I guess it’s more of an expression of emotion, than an urge to abuse. So it’s not an abuse so much as it is an expression of what you are feeling. That’s where I channelled all those people inside me while enacting Anu.
How did your kids react to you using cuss words?
My kids have not seen the film yet.
I’m sure you must have scolded them when they used such words in their childhood. Can you recall any such incident?
Of course. Both my kids get fired on a regular basis. I always tell them no, you can’t use these words and it’s not the right thing to say, etc… On the other hand, my daughter (Nysa) is turning 18 in April. I don’t know how much control I’ll have over that now.
What’s your takeaway from the film? What’s the best compliment you got for Tribhanga?
My takeaway is… I loved the fact that we had all these powerful women (director Renuka Shahane and actors including Tanvi Azmi and Mithila Palkar) who came on the set without any insecurity and made a good film together. But besides that, we also chilled out together and had a lot of fun. And it was an amazing feeling to see work get done amidst the amazing camaraderie that took place with so many fearless people on set. It was an amazing experience which I will never forget. And the best compliment I’ve got for the film is that I’ve heard people have gone back and looked at their lives and moms and seen them as who they are without judging them harshly as we tend to do. All of us tend to do that. We’re extremely judgemental towards our moms and towards our parents and our kids in turn judge us as well. So hopefully we’ll judge each other a little less after watching Tribhanga.
How was it being directed by a woman director? Was the equation on the set different because of that?
I think Tribhanga couldn’t have been written by a man. Tribhanga had to be definitely written by a woman. And the complexities of the characters and all that put together, nobody knew that script as well as Renuka Shahane. And she did a fantastic job. She did a fantastic job of pulling out performance from us. And making sure we lived upto the characters in the film. Gender not withstanding.
Do you think you’re getting more fulfilling roles now, at this stage of your career?
I chose to do fewer films. I chose to work less. And as I said, I’m more particular about picking projects now. So I don’t want to do everything that comes to me. I want to take on something only if it fits all my criteria. Only then I will agree to do it.