I want to go back to acting: Nandita Das (Interview)

October 1st, 2008 - 10:13 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 1 (IANS) Versatile actress Nandita Das’ directorial debut “Firaaq” has already received rave reviews at different film festivals across the globe, but she says making a movie was the “worst challenge” for her. She now wants to go back to acting.”Directing a film has been the worst challenge for me. The whole project took me around two years to write and conceptualise. In fact, I was so busy that last year almost didn’t exist for me. Making a film involves a lot of things - pre-production, dubbing, post-production, etc,” Nandita told IANS in an interview.

Nandita, who has won several awards for her acting, has no plan to go behind the camera again too soon and is looking forward to getting back to acting.

“I think it (direction) is so engaging that I won’t like to do it sooner. I’ll like to get back to acting. I have always been inclined towards acting as I have a sort of responsibility to support the work. I’ll also get back to my human rights advocacy that has taken a backseat,” she said.

Produced by Percept Picture Company (PPC), “Firaaq” is based on the 2002 Godhra riots in Gujarat and stars Paresh Rawal, Naseeruddin Shah, Tisca Chopra, Deepti Naval, Raghuvir Yadav, Sanjay Suri and child actor Shehmat Khan.

Having been screened at the Telluride Film Festival (TFF) in the US and at the 33rd Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in the Contemporary World Cinema Premiere category, “Firaaq” is also competing in the Asia Pacific Screen Awards to be held this November in Queensland, Australia.

The film will also be shown at the Pusan International Film Festival and the South Asian International Film Festival (SAIFF) in New York.

The film is slated to release early next year in India and Nandita said she wanted to show the “impact of violence on the human psyche and relations” through her movie.

Another of Nandita’s movies doing the rounds of the world festival circuit is her first Pakistani film “Ramchand Pakistani”, which releases commercially in India Oct 2.

Nandita shares screen space with Pakistani actors like Rashid Farooqui, Noman Ijaz, Maria Wasti, Farooq Pario, Navaid Jabbar and Syed Fazal Hussain in the film.

Directed by Mehreen Jabbar, the film shows the trauma of people living in the India-Pakistan border areas and how an accidental crossing of the border changes the lives of a Hindu ‘untouchable’ peasant family living in Pakistan.

Sharing her thoughts on her cross-border debut, Nandita said: “I have known Mehreen for the last five years. People in Pakistan get to see a lot of India in the Indian movies released there, especially after the lifting of the ban. But in India we don’t get to see that amount of Pakistan.

“After ‘Khuda Kay Liye’ and ‘Ramchand Pakistani’, I hope things would change and more Indian and Pakistani actors would work together.”

Known for her strong roles in offbeat films like “Fire”, “1947 Earth” and “Bawandar”, Nandita also thinks that her being typecast as an “art-house” actor is natural.

“Some amount of typecasting is inevitable. I am basically used to doing what reflects with me and whatever I relate to. Beyond a point, I am not concerned about it. That is the reason why I do regional films. These films are also to be made and seen because they are good stories and good directors are making them.”

As far as selection of roles is concerned, Nandita says that an actor has to choose from what he or she is being offered.

“As an actor, you are dependent on projects that come to you,” she said.

Her next release this year is Santosh Sivan’s internationally acclaimed “Before the Rains”.

Right now Nandita has no film in her kitty - she is concentrating on her directorial debut and planning to take “Firaaq” to more film festivals.

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