3 Kanya, starring Rituparna Sengupta, Ananya Chatterjee and Unnati Davara, is directed by Agnidev Chatterjee
Picture by Rashbehari Das; make-up: Kaushik; styling: Rajat
Is 3 Kanya (which released on Friday) the boldest film in your career?
Yes, concept-wise it’s very bold. The way Agni (Agnidev) has conceptualised the idea of two women (Rituparna and Unnati Davara) getting intimate in a scene is a bold concept. But mind you, it’s not lesbianism that we are dealing with. The scene (where Unnati and Rituparna lock lips) is done in a manner which may appear very surreal. The two women are not in a relationship.
Is 3 Kanya bolder than Trishna (2009)?
See, Trishna (inspired from John Abraham-Bipasha Basu’s Jism) was a different thing altogether. Trishna was about skin show. It was about a woman doing everything to seduce a man. In 3 Kanya, the boldness lies in the concept. It’s about woman power. That’s why the women protagonists — Aparna (Rituparna), Nancy (Ananya) and Damini (Unnati) — have a strong background. While I play a journalist, Ananya plays a call girl and Unnati, an IPS officer. Trishna was more about a woman trying to use her body to gain something from a man. Here the characters are much more complex.
What kind of bold scenes do you have in 3 Kanya?
My character Aparna uses the f*** word very often. Scene-wise, there are two very bold ones — one is a love-making scene with Sudip (Mukherjee), the other is a making-out scene with Unnati and the lip-lock. But 3 Kanya is not just about sex and lip-locks! At the end of the day, there’s a strong story.
Which was the most challenging scene for you?
Definitely the making-out scene with Unnati. Well, we laughed our hearts out after the shot but obviously neither of us had ever hugged and kissed a woman passionately! We were both awkward initially. It was something new for me.... I have seen women in sexually intimate scenes in Hollywood films. When I saw Angelina Jolie’s Gia (1998), I was surprised how convincingly the love-making scenes between Angelina and Elizabeth Mitchell were done! When I saw Shabana Azmi and Nandita Das in Fire, I was initially reluctant to accept it but slowly got engrossed.
3 Kanya is not as daring and the making-out scene is a tiny part of the film. But while doing the scene, I wondered how my family would react!
You didn’t agree to a lip-lock with Dibyendu in Charuulata 2011, but you said yes to a lip-lock with Unnati. Why?
See, my lip-lock with Unnati doesn’t last more than a second. And it’s not a smooch. I thought it’s okay with the concept of the film. In Charuulata 2011 I had done too many bold scenes, so I thought a lip-lock wouldn’t add much. I had done a making-out scene with Dibyendu under the shower!
Agnidev told t2 that 3 Kanya is the boldest Bengali film ever made. What are your thoughts?
Maybe he is right. But according to me, Rituparno Ghosh’s Antarmahal (2005) is the boldest Bengali film ever made.
At this stage, what inhibitions do you have as an actress?
I have very few inhibitions now because I want to explore more. This is my best phase as an actress. I can do so much as I am experienced and ready to try new things. I wasn’t ready for a lot of things earlier. I want to do things that people have not seen me doing so far. Now I really look up to the Hollywood actresses who have taken boldness to another level on screen. But here we don’t have that kind of acceptance from the audience, so we are still very traditional and that shows in our films.
Yet, our films have advanced to a certain extent and so have our mindsets. That’s why I say I have very fewer inhibitions now. I might do something very daring tomorrow, but to me smooching, nudity and skin show aren’t bold. The concept has to be bold. You know, like if tomorrow I am offered the role of a wife whose husband is a homosexual, I will definitely agree. For me that is bold.
What will you not do on screen and why?
I am not very comfortable with smooching and kissing. And if I am revealing my body, it has to be projected in a very sensuous and artistic manner.
How much of a factor is your family feedback when it comes to choosing a role or shedding your inhibitions?
Family plays a major role, especially Sanjay (husband). Till now whatever films I have done, I have always discussed with Sanjay. I had mentioned the storyline of 3 Kanya. Well, he wasn’t absolutely comfortable but he didn’t say no either. But if he ever says no, I will definitely listen to him. He has never said no to anything I have done. He is a very relaxed person.
What kind of feedback did you get from family, friends and fans for Charuulata 2011, which too had bold scenes?
My mother-in-law liked the film. The women connected with Charu, my character. People in general had liked the film. I showed the film to Sanjay in bits and parts and whatever he saw he liked! But I don’t know how he will react if he sees the entire film! (Laughs)
Do you think the audience in Bengal is now okay with bold scenes on screen?
Yes, because they are accepting films like Aarekti Premer Galpo. So the horizons have widened and people are exposed to a lot more. But they also want substance. A film cannot be liked by all only because of bold scenes.
Do you think directors include bold scenes as a sure-shot success formula?
Not all. Our filmmakers are sensible enough and know what they are doing.
What would you say to some of your fans who feel you should focus on mature and dignified roles like in Muktodhara rather than 3 Kanya?
Well, my fans can always get divided in their thoughts because some liked me in Trishna and Charuulata 2011, while others liked me in Muktodhara. I respect the views of my fans but I know I can convincingly straddle both kinds of films, whether it’s a Trishna, Charuulata 2011, Muktodhara or Anuranan.
Nowadays do directors approach you more for bold roles?
No. It’s a mix of everything. I am doing Shiboprosad Mukhopadhyay-Nandita Roy’s Aleek Shukh which has a very different story. I am shooting for a masala potboiler like Raater Rajanigandha. Then there’s a comedy Biye Not Out with Sudeshna Roy-Abhijit Guha. And I’m in Mrs Sen, Agnidev’s next film. I am a versatile actress, you see!