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'Don't play a sex worker ever'

The Queen of sophistication reveals the trauma she had to go through while playing a prostitute. Neha Dhupia is flesh trade icon! | Payal to train for flesh trade

india Updated: Jan 25, 2006 10:53 IST

What happens when the Queen of sensuousness and sophistication ends up being a hard-core sex worker? Miss Universe-turned-actress Sushmita Sen reveals the trauma she had to go through while playing Basanti, the sex worker, in a Kalpana Lajmi's Chingari.

"It wasn't just the physical makeover that I to go for but there was major emotional and mental readiness required for the role which demanded lot of emotions and expressions coming from within. It was not just difficult for me to get into the skin of Basanti (the character of Sushmita) but coming out of it was a big job in itself. It was a challenge. It took hours for me to normalize," Sen recalls.

Be it Chameli (Kareena Kapoor), Julie (Neha Dhupia) or Mumtaz (Tabu in Chandni Bar), many actresses have enacted a sex worker's life on camera but Sushmita Sen is perhaps the only one who has tried to understand the thick and thin a prostitute has to go through, making her role look more realistic than others.

Talking about her physical get up, Sushmita Sen says, "I rubbed loads of Koyala and Kajal, mixed with oil, on my face and body to look like a natural village girl who is a hard-core sex worker. It was as difficult to play Basanti as it was to become Sushmita after the shoot was over. I was hesitant coming out in the open with heavy loaded make-up but my director Kalpana Lajmi's encouragement worked a lot for me."

While other actresses portrayed prostitute as a glam object, Sush preferredto get into the skin of the character even though she had to go through the mental travails of it. "I will advise actresses not to play this kind of a sex worker's role ever. What hurts me a lot were the travails and trauma the hapless girl (Basanti) goes through. I am not such a person in my own life. Believe me, I was so much immersed into the character of Basanti that I could feel the humiliation every time a man touched her. This character filled me with a lot of repugnance," states Sushmita.

First Published: Jan 24, 2006 18:30 IST