“I Do Not Want To Stoop To Desperate ‘Lows’ To Get Work In Films”- Kavita Tripathi
What exactly made you seek a career in acting in films?
As a kid, I had always wanted to be a part of the glamour industry as I wanted to be seen on TV. That was what drew me to acting though once I set out to be an actress; I realized that it was not at all an easy task as there are a lot of struggles in the industry when you made an attempt to be an actress. And many a time young girls who aspire to be actresses are trapped by false promises by not only casting directors but also directors though they are fly- by- night people.
What is your role in the film The Hundred Bucks?
I play the role of a sex worker called Mohini in the film The Hundred Bucks directed by Dushyant Singh. It is about the harrowing journey of Mohini in a span of just one night. The film sets out to depict how a sex worker copes up with her life. It is the painful story of one night in her life.
What is the film all about?
It is about how Mohini is left just with a one hundred rupee note at the end of her journey in one night though she had begun it by earning for herself Rs 5000, especially since the poor girl has to shell it out to different people in the ancillary trade of hers like the Madame in charge of the brothel, the pimps and the corrupt cops who patrol the area, besides her regular medical checkup.
In what way is the film different from the other films based on sex workers?
People see such ‘fallen’ women in bad light though in reality they may be very good at heart. It is very sad that very few films have been made on such sex workers in the last 70 years. The Hundred Bucks is an attempt not to malign these sex workers but throw some light on why and how they are force to do what they do not want to do in their lives.
Which are the films which you saw to prepare for your part in the film?
I made it a point to see films like Shyam Benegal’s Mandi, Gulzar’s Mausam, Basu Chatterji’s Chameli and last but not the least Madhur Bhandarkar’s Chandni Bar. When I was young, when these films were being telecast on the channels, my parents never used to let us watch them and close the TV because they felt that we were not mature enough to digest such films
How easy or tough was it for to play the role of Mohini in The Hundred Bucks?
The role of Mohini was not at all easy to play. I had to keep in mind the right body language of an average sex worker. I was very scared to go to any brothel to study how the sex worker approached her profession. Today when I look back, I feel that I should have had the guts to go on a recce and learnt heir nuances as it would have helped me in delineating my part in a batter way. There was no need for me to expose my skin in the film. Yet I feel that people will like the innocence that I project in the film as I am very innocent in real life too
What message does the film set out to drive home to the audiences?
The film sets out to drive home the pertinent message that sex workers should not be treated with contempt just because they indulge in giving pleasure to men but they are also an intrinsic part and parcel of the society today.
How easy was it for you to convince your parents to let you accept a role like that of a sex worker in The Hundred Bucks?
It was quite tough to convince my mum though my father was quite okay with it, since I hail from a middle class family in Bihar. It was only after I pleaded with my mom to let me play a role which Kareena Kapoor had played to perfection in Chameli more than a decade and a half ago that she let me do the role.
Were you not scared of the syndrome of the ubiquitous castings couch prevalent in the film and TV industry?
Of course. I was scared of the casting couch initially because I realized that it does exist in the film industry though people may deny its existence. I think I should consider myself lucky that I could keep myself away from such people in the industry who are on the lookout for vulnerable young girls in the industry.
How trained are you as an actress?
I have done theatre as well as dance classes. I underwent training with Vidhur Sir in acting. Since my mom wanted me to be an IAS officer, I decided to do a course in Bachelor of Business Management in Bengaluru
Who are your favorite actors and actresses in Bollywood?
My only favorite actor in Bollywood is Shah Rukh Khan and my two favorite actresses are Tabu and Deepika Padukone.
Who is the director who is in your wish list as an actress in Bollywood?
Sanjay Leela Bhansali is the only director I feel is capable of making any ordinary heroine, whether it is Aishwarya Rai or for that matter Deepika Padukone, blossom into a super star by making a beautiful film designed to showcase her prowess not only as an actress but also as a dancer. I fervently wish that I too get a rare opportunity to work under his direction sometime in the future.
Are you one to work in web series in future?
I am ready to work in web series too as it is very much in demand as of now and there are a lot of good plots which are waiting to be explored on web series. However, it does not mean that I will jump at offers for web series which need me to expose just because there is no censorship in them. I said no to a couple of offers to act in sleazy films recently because I do not want to stoop to desperate ‘lows’ to get work in films. Apne aapko maarke main kaam nahi karna chahthi hoon.
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