Note: Courtesy of quotes goes to Mumbai Mirror, who conducted the interview with Nandita Das.
Though she is rarely seen in commercial Bollywood affairs, and scarcely indulges in regular filmy gossip, Nandita Das is still considered to be one of India’s finest actresses as she has constantly given brilliant performances (in virtually all languages!) in what most would call ‘offbeat’ films. Now, she is ready with her first directional venture titled Firaaq that stars Naseerudin Shah, Tisca Chopra, Paresh Rawal and Deepti Naval.
Essentially, Nandita says that her film is about fear and violence and “how it affects human relationships. Firaaq has five stories, some of which are connected and others which are not. She explains, “Firaaq is set one month after a communal riot, so there is no violence shown in the film. But, it is about the fear, identity crises and prejudice. Firaaq is a story I wanted to tell for a long time…”
We’ve seen many actors going from acting to direction, so what’s Nandita’s take on the transition? Prompt comes the reply, “Direction is much bigger than acting because you have to supervise everything – from production work to art design, costumes to script, sound and editing. It is a matter of decision-making.” But has working as an actor helped? “My acting experience has taught me how to communicate my vision to the audience,” she says.
Like it or not, she has a certain tag associated with her, that of an ‘offbeat’ actresses who works in ‘art’ films. What does she think about such a label? “Yes, I’m called an arty actress but I don’t understand why films have to be categorised into art-house and commercial,” she complains. I second that!
She closes her interview saying, “I am what I am.” Let me tell you Nandita, we love you no matter what label the media gives you!