Madonna. Sushmita Sen’s choice for a rock, pop, style icon is unequivo- cal. “She’s an icon, not for her music, but for her energy levels. Also for the way she constantly reinvents herself. She em- bodies a rock star on and off stage,” says Sen who is playing a singer in Zindaggi Rocks. “Tanuja Chandra (the director) ensured that mix in the char- acter of Kria too. Kria is approachable but larger than life.”
Sen is dressed casually in a black tank top over black sweats. Her hair is pulled back and she’s curled up in a large chair in her office. The pain in her neck, the result of an injury while filming Zindaggi Rocks, produced by BAG Films, has been cured. “I had three weeks of enforced bed rest. It was tough for someone as restless as me,” says Sen who sustained the injury while shooting a song in which she was carrying a heavy guitar and headbanging while wearing sixinch heels.
“The combination caused the pull. I ignored it at first but when I went for the MRI, it was not pretty.” Though Madonna is her rock icon, Sen’s character of Kria does not imbibe the Material Girl’s dress sense. Interestingly, most of the costumes are styled by Sen herself with the clothes coming from her personal collection (though the songs have different designers providing the look).
Sen describes Kria’s style as “real, with a slight edge. Casual and sexy”. Chandra would provide a colour brief and Sen would rifle through her wardrobe and create an appropriate ensemble for Kria.
|Sushmita Sen plays a rockstar in her next flick Zindaggi Rocks.|
Though she underwent some basic guitar training for the film, Sen’s musical repertoire is limited and unique. We notice a piano in the living room, which her daughter Renee now plays and which Sen enjoys improvising on. “As with dance, I like a sense of abandonment with music too. I was fascinated by the piano, so I bought one and I began to learn on a Casio. I can hear music and replicate it, but I have no idea about notes and chords. I improvise a lot and play something once but I might never be able to play the same thing again,” says Sen whose main wish would be to have a singing voice. “I wish I had been a rock star,” she says, wistfully, confessing that the only song she can sing is Elton John’s
Kria, who has a 15-year-old adopted son, falls in love with Dr Suraj Rihan (Shiney Ahuja). Ask her what brings a singer and a doctor together and she replies: “A wound takes you to a doctor, and she takes her wounds to him. Kria likes damaged goods and Suraj is emotionally damaged. The idea of making another person happy is her high.”
Mention the Expat, a film reportedly starring her and Richard Gere and Sen’s expression changes. “I don’t know where these reports come from without any verification from me. It becomes so embarrassing. On my account I consider it as not happening till it happens, and it happening if it happens.”
She’s set to wrap up Karma, Confessions and Holi with one song remaining to be shot for the Indian version. The film premieres at the Tribeca Festival in New York next year, and then Sen says she’s tak ing a sabbatical. “I have to work on developing the Rani Laxmibai film. Also my restaurant in Kolkata and my production house need my attention, plus I am starting a spa business. So I will be seriously selective about my work,” says the former Miss Universe. And just as she talks of time off, my time is up and with a warm hug I am sent out of the cold air-conditioned room.