Shweta Basu Prasad recalls asking Gulzar why he wears white all the time, his reply floored her
Shweta Basu Prasad recalls her fondest memories from Makdee, including being pampered by Vishal Bhardwaj and asking Gulzar silly questions.
While chatting with Shweta Basu Prasad, one has to constantly remind themselves that she has been around in the entertainment industry for two decades. After all, the actor is only 31. But before she became a celebrated character actor in films like The Tashkent Files and Serious Men, she was a popular child artiste. She started her career with the Vishal Bhardwaj film Makdee at the age of 10. In an interaction with Hindustan Times on the film’s 20th anniversary, Shweta recalled some of her fondest memories from the film. (Also Read | Shweta Basu Prasad drew from Chameli's Kareena Kapoor, Mandi's Smita Patil to play sex worker in India Lockdown)
Makdee, which released in November 2002, was a thriller with Shweta in the lead, a dual role of twin sisters Chunni and Munni. Supporting her were veteran actors Shabana Azmi and Makarand Deshpande. The film won Shweta a National Award. But she admits she was a complete novice with no knowledge about cinema when she was signed. Talking about her first memory on sets, she recalls, “I think meeting Shabana ji for the first time because she was in her witch costume and I had not watched any film of hers. I had only seen Masoom thanks to my mom because she said at least watch some film of hers. I had no clue who Gulzar saab was and who was Vishal ji. But I do remember being pampered on sets.”
The film was written and directed by Vishal Bhardwaj and Shweta remembers the director truly pampered her when they shot in Goa. “We were shooting in old Goa and in our resort, the swimming pool would shut at 7pm. I didn’t know how to swim. One day I went to Vishal ji and said we shoot till evening and I don’t get time to swim. He finished my shoot around 3-4pm. He said, ‘let her go and swim’. I just went in and did chhap-chhap for 10 minutes. But to honour that just to let me be happy was one of my favourite memories,” she shares.
Veteran filmmaker and writer Gulzar wrote the songs for the film and was a constant presence on the sets as Vishal’s mentor. Shweta recalls a funny interaction she had with the writer. “The last memory I would share would be this one time when everyone was talking to Gulzar sahab. My mom was talking about some movie of his and lyrics. I thought even I should ask him some intelligent question. ‘Why do you wear white all the time,’ I asked,” she says laughing. And did Gilzar answer? “He said one day I will wear a colourful shirt for you. Who din aaj tak nahi aaya (That day still hasn’t come) and I am glad otherwise his fans will kill me,” responds Shweta.
Shweta had another notable success as a child star in Nagesh Kukunoor’s Iqbal in 2005. She eventually moved to playing supporting roles as an adult in both Hindi and Telugu films. She found fame on TV in shows such as Chandra Nandini. She will be next seen in Madhur Bhandarkar’s India Lockdown, where she plays a sex worker affected by the Covid-19 lockdowns. The film releases on Zee5 on December 2.