It has been almost five years since the ace actor performed last on Delhi’s stage. The Bandit Queen (1994) of Bollywood aka Seema Biswas is back in the Capital, but is yet to make her appearance on stage.
“Mai khud taras rahi hun. Sahi subject ki talash kar rahi hun (I’m longing to perform in Delhi. I’m in search of the right subject),” says the actor adding that it’s her self-doubt that propels her to excel in her craft, “Jis din doubt khatam, mai khatam.”
Her home, presently, is in Delhi and her heart? “Dil hai jahan theatre hai,” says the actor who won the National Award for her portrayal of Phoolan Devi on silver screen. “I want to perform on stage but won’t compete in it. I’m not beyond competition but I feel shy to compete now, as the youngsters, seeking space, might say, ‘Arre budiya humko mauka de!”
The day 16th December gang rape incident happened, I was thinking how I was saved from landing into a similar tragedy once.
Her self-criticism is praiseworthy and nostalgia with Delhi striking. Judging plays at recently concluded META, the thespian, talks about how Delhi hasn’t changed since she moved to Mumbai after graduating from National School of Drama.
Remembering the 16th December gang rape incident, she says, “The day it happened, I was thinking how I was saved from a similar tragedy once. Travelling from Laxmi Nagar to Mandi House post-dinner in a DTC bus with my sister at around 9pm at night, I told the conductor to return the balance of four rupees, to which he replied sarcastically, ‘50 rupaya denge, chalega?’ While getting off, he abused me and only then the co-passengers intervened saying, ‘Madam raat ho gayi hai, jaiye (It’s late already, leave). I feel bad ki kuch sudhra nahi. Bade-bade flyover, metro ban gaye, par mentality nahi badli. Nothing has changed; it’s so sad.”
Sanskar ghar se nikalta hain; usi chakkar me humare hindustan ke log barbaad hue hain. Whether it’s your father, brother, husband or boyfriend, the upbringing of parents is very wrong when they give special treatment to boys.
The actor is known to not mince her words; especially when it comes to the subject of the women and their decision to stand against men, when they are wrong. “Sanskar ghar se nikalta hain; usi chakkar me humare hindustan ke log barbaad hue hain. Whether it’s your father, brother, husband or boyfriend, the upbringing of the parents is very wrong when they give special treatment to boys.”