After 'Omkara' and 'Yun...', Konkona dying to do theatre

Aug 15, 2006 Subhash K. Jha

Mumbai, Aug 16 (IANS) With two releases in two weeks, Konkona SenSharma is all over the place with critics and audiences raving about her performances in Naseeruddin Shah's directorial debut "Yun Hota Toh Kya Hota" and Vishal Bharadwaj's "Omkara".

Next on the anvil is the thriller with Irrfan Khan titled "Deadline".

But right now this versatile actress is more keen to act in a play with Naseer.

"Did Naseer really like my performance?" she wondered. "Throughout the film he kept teasing me, 'Why did I take this ugly untalented girl?' I love him. I wish I could act with him."

"I've asked him to let me be in a play with him. I've been dying to do theatre for a while. In fact, I've asked my 'Mixed Doubles' director-co-star Rajat Kapoor also to let me do a play with him. But no one listens to me," Konkona told IANS.

She's excited to be working with Rituparno Ghosh for the third time.

"I'm always doing Hindi and Bengali films. But in 'Sunglass' I get to do both together. I'll get to work with such a wide variety of acting talent."

She talks about her role in Naseer's film with enthusiasm.

"There were four stories in 'Yun Hota Toh Kya Hota'. And in each, one character wants to go away to the US. I'm a Bengali girl in an arranged marriage. She's unable to get along with her in-laws. There're characters in the film who try to escape from their past."

Talking about "Omkara", she said: "I've never done anything like 'Omkara'. That's why when I heard the script I dropped everything else to accommodate it."

She lights up at the mention of her Omkara co-star Saif Ali Khan.

"Saif didn't know the kind of actor I was. But once we got to know each other, we got along really well. He's so cute and talented. I hope he does lots more work like 'Omkara'.

"All my co-stars were from the Bollywood masala background. I was the odd one out. I was intimidated by the bigness of it, quite awestruck by the stars. And the Western UP dialect - that really got me. The others were at least proficient in Hindi. But me?

"I must say watching Ajay (Devgan), Kareena (Kapoor), Saif, Viveik (Oberoi) and Bipasha (Basu) was a humbling experience. They were always on time and they always said their lines correctly. My role is lovely in 'Omkara'."

Konkona said she wasn't intimidated by Bharadwaj doing Shakespeare.

"Adaptations aren't uncommon. And, besides, I had seen Vishal's 'Maqbool' and loved it. I don't have that many scenes. And they aren't tough to do until the twist at the end that deviates from the original Shakespeare. I had done 'Othello' in college. When Vishal asked me to do Amelia, I couldn't remember that character. But when I heard the script I realised mine wasn't a role that would be easily forgotten."

Konkona is agog about "Omkara".

"It's my first big Bollywood film. Not that my films haven't made money. They're made within a tight budget and are therefore workable."

She keeps flitting from genre to genre.

"I'm very happy that I'm getting the kind of roles that I do. But I'm not too happy with the scripts that I'm getting. I've been asked to do films in the south. But unless it's super-tempting I don't want to go beyond Hindi and Bengali films. But, yes, the roles can get better.

"I love the smaller films that have done well like 'My Brother Nikhil' and 'Iqbal'. They have battled the big ones. Though not all the realistic films are great. But at least there're people who are courageous enough to take the leap. Some of the mainstream films are quite awful. But some of them are superb. I loved 'Main Hoon Na' and 'Bunty Aur Babli'."

She has a guest appearance in Madhur Bhandarkar's "Traffic Signal".

"I play this foul-mouthed character. If I knew I'd have to use so much abusive language I'd have never done it. When Madhur approached me he said it was just the role of a confident street worker, smoking cigarettes. I wasn't sure. But he insisted.

"My mom will get a heart attack when she hears me in 'Traffic Signal', poor woman. It was very embarrassing to use some of these words in front of the whole unit. I didn't even know what some of them meant. For bhadwe (pimp) I kept saying bhanwre. It was very embarrassing. But Madhur had so faith in me."

No new films for Konkona except Anurag Basu's "Metro".

"I believe Anurag's 'Gangster' is a good film. I've to see it. That's why I want to do 'Metro'. I've agreed to do it. But let me hear the whole script. I've to come across a script that excites me. Not that I'm a very good judge of a script.

"Onir's brother-in-law Ashwini Mallick has narrated a good script to me. I was supposed to be in Onir's 'Bas Ek Pal'. But before I could make up my mind they went to another actress. I don't feel about such things. My mom is an actress. I know roles changing hands is quite common."

Looking forward to the National Award this year for her performance in her mom's "15 Park Avenue"?

"No! Are you mad? The fact that the film is so close to my heart and so many people close to me have appreciated it is reward enough for me. I'm quite happy with my one National Award for 'Mr & Mrs Iyer'."

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