Bipasha Basu is upbeat about her new film Aakrosh, which after Lamhaa, once again projects her in a ‘deglam’ avatar. “In Lamhaa (her last film) I was allowed to wear kajal (kohl), I wear absolutely no make-up in Aakrosh. Rocky (designer Rocky S) got me cotton saris from Kolkata and Priyadarshan (the film’s director) would mess up my hair on the sets,” reminisces the actor. “My character is trapped in an unhappy, abusive marriage and the sadness is reflected in her persona. It was a dismal role to play but an eye-opener too.”
The film touches on the subject of caste politics and honour killings and, as Basu points out, these are just incidents you read about in the papers everyday. “They don’t become real till you do a film like Aakrosh,” she reasons. “It’s a no-brainer for me and our legal system needs to wake up and pass stringent laws to rule out these feudal ‘khap panchayats’,” she asserts.
The intentions are honourable but Lamhaa’s commercial failure reinforces the fact that there are few takers for such realistic films. Basu acknowledges this and admits that after the TV premiere of Lamhaa, she’s been inundated with compliments. “The response made me feel successful as an actor but it’s unfortunate that some of these same people didn’t go to watch the film in the theatres,” she says.
Her experience with Lamhaa has made her realise that films that tackle social issues need to have tighter budgets. “If Lamhaa had been made for the price of an Udaan or a Tere Bin Laden, it would have been a hit,” she argues.
That’s why Basu has now decided to take a pay cut on socially relevant films to make them commercially viable. “That’s the only way they can work,” she asserts, admitting that she hasn’t done Aakrosh for free since it came to her much earlier. “But I will reduce my price for similar films that follow.”
In an effort to bring in social change, Basu had announced an NGO for Kashmiri orphans, in collaboration with her Lamhaa director, Rahul Dholakia, and co-star Sanjay Dutt. In retrospect, she says that it may be a little tough since an NGO takes months of paperwork to set up. “For now, Rahul is planning filmmaking workshops in the Kashmir Valley,” she says. “ And I’ve offered to help in whatever way I can.”