|Rati Agnihotri ( top) and her aynate co-star Rituparna Sengupta at HHI on Monday. Pictures by Aranya Sen
At 48, Rati Agnihotri still reminds you of the Ek Duuje Ke Liye girl she had played 27 years ago. For the next two weeks, Rati is camping in town to shoot for her first Bengali film Aaynate, co-starring Rituparna Sengupta, Soumitra Chatterjee and Firdaus.
A t2 chat
Why have you taken so long to do a Bengali film?
I dont know why it took me so long since I have done films in about eight languages. I have worked with many Bengali directors and producers in the past but no one offered me a Bengali film. I have always admired Bengalis as they are very cultured, artistic and make sensible films. Of late, I have seen Chokher Bali and Raincoat. I cant speak the language but I can understand when someone speaks it slowly. I like Bengali music too and I love having fish!
What drew you to Aaynate?
Well, when Dulal De, the director, approached me with the script I could immediately relate to the role. The character I play has various shades, true to my own nature. I could see a lot of me in her. And that is very important for me; I have to identify with my screen characters. I think its important for every actor. Maybe a small little glimpse, as that helps make the character seem flesh-and-blood.
Tell us about your role in Aaynate...
I play Urmila and she is my mirror image. Urmila belongs to an extremely affluent background. She is very determined about what she wants from life and she is involved with a lot of social causes. Like Urmila, I too am involved in social issues. And like her, I am very determined too. Urmila meets Malini (Rituparna) in an ashram, and things take a turn from there.
Which is the most challenging role you have done till now?
It has to be Tawaif. I played a prostitute, opposite Rishi Kapoor. It was the most difficult role that I have ever portrayed. The body language was so different and there was no way I could relate to the role. The way I had to look, talk and walk was so different. Plus, I had never chewed so many paan in my entire life. And I smoked hookah too!
What keeps you busy in Mumbai these days?
I have just finished shooting for Luck, where I play a mother to Aamir Khans nephew Imran, and Chal Chale where again I am a mother to a child who commits suicide as he is unable to handle academic pressures. These days, I am mainly offered roles of mothers. I like doing them and, being a mother, I can relate to them as well.
What is the secret of your youthful looks?
Oh thank you! But I dont do anything. No diet, no yoga, nothing. I just love eating fruits, maybe that helps. Besides, I always take out time for myself. I chill out with my family. I dont do more that four films a year, so that I can spend time with my son Tanuj who is 22. We spend a lot of time together.