Panjab University, on Tuesday, honoured National Award winner Baljinder Kaur who won best supporting actress for her role in Haryanvi film ‘Pagdi The Honour’ at the 62nd edition of the pretigious awards that honours achievement in cinema.
This was her first visit after 10 long years to the varsity where she started her tryst with theatre that would later bring her laurels.
Narrating her journey, Kaur talked about how she started from reciting poetry at her village Bhondian to to being a student at the National School of Drama to bagging a role in the film ‘Shahid’.
Kaur developed an interest in theatre during her days in DAV College, Hoshiarpur.
In 1994, she took the difficult decision of choosing drama over BEd at PU.
She has also been teaching drama at a Hisar school after she married Brijesh Sharma, first her classmate at PU and then at NSD.
Her moment of glory came when she was awarded for her performance in ‘Pagdi The Honour’, a film on honour killings.
She says, “I never dreamt of a film… I was always interested in theatre,” she said.
Excerpts from an interview with the actor...
‘Pagdi The Honour’ is yet to be released formally. Tell us about your role in the film.
I am playing the hero’s mother in the film which talks about honour killing and is set in Haryana.
It gives a message for respecting the feelings of children.
Rajiv Bhatia, who was our senior in the department of Indian theatre, has directed it whereas my husband Brijesh Sharma has played the role of the heroine’s father.
How was your experience at National School of Drama?
I was at the National School of Drama for three years.
It was like a ‘tapasya’ where you are working day and night.
I learnt all classical dance forms and music there. Even If I got a small role, I did it with full effort and learnt a lot.
I was also selected in the repertory of NSD where I worked for close to six years. I got a lot of love and affection over there.
How did your first film ‘Shahid’, come to you?
The casting director of ‘Shahid’, Mukesh Chabra, had seen my play ‘Aye Ladki’.
He had called me for an audition and even though I didn’t turn up for it, he convinced director Hansal Mehta to cast me.
The film won two National Awards and I was nominated for the Best Actress part as well.
Do you have any regrets on refusing PK?
Those who saw ‘Shahid’ approached me for ‘PK’. It was a prostitute’s role from whom Aamir Khan learns Bhojpuri.
I was not mentally prepared to do it. As I was teaching drama to school students, I wondered what may go through their minds.
There was no bold scene but the dialogues were bold enough. They told me there were about six scenes, but the final movie had only one.
What kind of roles do you want to do in Bollywood?
I would love to do difficult roles where internal conflict within a character is involved. I would love to work with Raj Kumar Hirani and Anurag Kashyap.
In ‘Dangal’, they were looking for a glamorous girl to be Aamir Khan’s wife, so it didn’t work out.
What are your upcoming films?
I am playing a heroine’s mother’s role in ‘Khadoos’.
The movie is produced by Raj Kumar Hirani.
It is also being made in Tamil, called, Irudhi Suttru (In the Last Round).
The film revolves around boxing with Madhavan in the lead role and is set to release in July.
I am also shooting for Rajeev Sharma’s next film where I play the lead role.
You didn’t know Haryanvi before doing ‘Pagdi The Honour’. And you spoke Tamil too for ‘Irudhi Suttru’. How did you manage?
I learnt Haryanvi after they decided to cast me for the role.
Earlier I just knew about the character. For ‘Irudhi Suttru’, they wrote the Tamil dialogues in Roman.
I practiced it for 15 days and managed to cram it in my memory.
Is living in Hisar is a disadvantage for getting work?
It is. A lot of projects got lost as we stay in Hisar.
I was even offered serials. They were even ready to pay Rs 50,000 per day.
But they tell you to reach Mumbai the next day which is not possible when you stay where I do.