The Telegraph
Saturday , February 16 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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She’s fine playing a mom — on or off screen

So, you had no apprehensions about playing the mother of an 18-year-old girl in Raj Mukherjee’s Roopey Tomay Bholabo Na (releases next Friday)?

I have no hang-ups about playing a mother or a character that is much older than I am. I don’t think that just because I have taken up such a character, other directors will also come up with similar roles for me. Things have changed a lot, directors are experimenting and it’s a good time for actors, too, to try new things. Our audience is ready to accept new things.... But I don’t want to repeat myself. I may play a mom to a 20-year-old if there’s a huge scope for performance. Besides, in the 11 years of my career as an actress, I have played a mom in at least half the films! Side by side, I am also playing characters my age, so there’s no problem.

How much of the mom-daughter relationship in Roopey Tomay is reflected in your relationship with your daughter?

None at all. This film is about a mother-daughter conflict. The daughter (newcomer Ananya Sarkar) looks more like her father (Koushik Sen), so she suffers from an inferiority complex. She starts competing with her mother and the mother tries hard to save the relationship. None of which matches my personal life! Mani (daughter) and I are more like friends. My daughter is least bothered about my stardom. She mingles with me the same way she does with Mainak (Bhaumik, Maach Mishti & More director), so we are very good friends.

But you also seem to be a strict mom, given that you often tweet about catching up on Mani’s homework...

Yes, I make it a point to sit with Mani’s homework every day and I go crazy with her books! Between ‘action’ and ‘cut’, I tell her on phone which chapters to study and which to skip. If someone asks me to participate in a children’s quiz show now, I will score the highest! See, Mani is in the eighth standard (at South City International School) and it’s a very crucial year for her. That’s why I’m a little worried about being away for the Mishawr Rawhoshyo (directed by Srijit Mukherji) shoot in Egypt....

Any sight-seeing plans in Egypt, apart from work?

I am very excited about Egypt because I was a history student. Egypt and Harappa-Mohenjo-daro — these are the two places that I have always wanted to visit. And I so wanted to take the Nile cruise in Egypt but I’m sad that it won’t be possible because of the tight schedule and the political unrest in Egypt.

Does Mani crib when you go on outstation shoots?

No, because she tags along with me most of the time. If it’s a comfortable unit, I take her along. Besides, we travel together a lot... from Bangkok to London, we’ve been to many places. But she is making a really long face over Egypt! I have promised to take her on a long vacation once I am back. I even bought her Angry Birds and Justin Bieber T-shirts! She is majorly into online shopping and her best friend Parno (Mittra, actress) is her guide. Parno comes up with new shopping sites every day and I want to stab Parno for this! (Laughs)

Do you believe looks can kill?

I think it’s a concept you believe in as a teenager. When I was a teenager, I would go gaga spotting a good-looking guy and that is all that mattered. Now I notice Mani doing that! But when you grow older, you are more concerned about how the person is.

How conscious are you about your looks?

I just pay attention to the fact that I am comfortable in what I am wearing. I dress according to the event. Most of our designers say that Tollywood’s style is not up to the standard, but I am very happy and proud that I am not on their list! I like experimenting and I go for haircuts very often. I like to sport different hairstyles.

Your favourite screen mom?

Kajol. She doesn’t care if she is fat or thin. In Tollywood, it has to be Aparna Sen.

Who would you love to play a daughter to on screen?

Can’t say... because nobody wants to play my mother or even sister-in-law! I prefer to do double roles — maybe I will play both the mother and the daughter!

In Tollywood, are the actresses more open to experimenting with roles than the actors? Tell

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