You might remember Shilpa Shukla from Chak De! India (2007). She was the ‘bad girl’, the hockey player who tries to entrap Shah Rukh Khan. She first came to critics’ notice, however, in 2004 in Khamosh Pani, in which she played the girlfriend of a boy who becomes a religious radical.
In B.A. Pass, her latest release, based on Mohan Sikka’s story from the anthology Delhi Noir, Shukla pushes the envelope. She’s the older woman who seduces a teenager and pushes him into prostitution.
The movie has won an array of international awards, including the Prix Du Public (voted best film by the audience) at the inaugural South Asian Film Festival held in Paris. The petite Delhi actress, who graduated in Sociology from Delhi University’s Miranda House, opens up on movies, moods and the psychology of seduction.
How theatre helped her: While working with Arvind Gaur’s Asmita at college, I learnt a lot of life lessons. Acting on the stage teaches you to kill your ego and observe people. In cinema, observing people and reserving your empathy helps flesh out characters.
Why Chak De!, and B.A. Pass are special: In Chak De!, I played Bindiya Naik who was desperate to captain the team. But B.A. Pass had one of the rarest characters that could come my way: Sarika is both seductive and manipulative. Also, the story was set in Delhi, where I’ve stayed for 12 years. Being familiar with her background helped me bring conviction to the character.
Why seductive roles are so, well, seductive: I found Deepa Sahi’s character in Maya Memsaab really sensual. And loved Rekha’s roles in Kama Sutra and Aastha. She has done some really impressive work and has an enigmatic aura about her.
Who inspires her: I’d love to work with Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi. I also like Charlize Theron and Hilary Swank and I howled when I saw Kate Winslet’s emotive skills in The Reader.
How success has changed her: I am enjoying all the attention I am getting. Also, I am reading some scripts, including interesting comedies and action films.
From HT Brunch, October 6
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