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Lillette Dubey: straddling the stage and the screen

Actress Lillette Dubey has successfully managed to keep herself grounded in both stage and screen, earning rave reviews and encomiums on the way.

india Updated: Sep 28, 2007 20:21 IST

In E Niwas' forthcoming film My Name is Anthony Gonsalves, Lillette Dubey plays an NRI film-maker who is in Mumbai to make a film. The actress says her role has close resemblance to New York-based filmmaker Mira Nair, who plans to shoot her Shantaram in Mumbai.

Confirming the news, the actress told IANS: "It is a film about a film-maker quite like Mira Nair, who comes down to Mumbai to make a film about the underworld, which is inspired by Julius Caesar.

"It's dominated by strong male actors like Anupam Kher and Om Puri. My part stands out for its rather unorthodox antecedents and bearings."<b1>

Amrita Rao and debutant Nikhil Dwivedi are playing main leads in this romantic comedy.

Another interesting role in Lillette's kitty is Saurabh Shukla's love interest in When I'm 24.

"I play a very stylish movie and television producer. A very cute cameo," said Lilette, who is also doing Jahnu Barua's new film. "It's not a central role. But I wanted to work with Jahnu for a long time."

And in Pankh, which is the first of Sanjay Gupta's art house films, she features in the central role of the mother of a boy who's cross-dressed as a child to get acting assignments in films."

"In Pankh I do play the main lead, again with a very young actor, just like I did recently in Bow Barracks Forever. Since I tumbled into cinema past 40, I've just followed my heart. I want to be in as many kinds of cinema as possible.

"When you come from theatre you're very spoilt as an actor. The range of work you get to do on stage is staggering. Cinema is by its very nature self-limiting. But I don't want to get slotted."

What has happened to big commercial film-makers who are enamoured of her?

"I might be working with Ravi Chopra again after Baghban where I had to speak pure Hindi. My husband had such a laugh," she said.

She was also seen in a small role in Karan Johar's hit movie Kal Ho Naa Ho.

The actress, whose first love is theatre, is balancing both. Recently she toured all over the country with Vijay Tendulkar's Kanyadaan, which she produced and directed.<b2>

"We've staged it in Chennai, Gurgaon, Amritsar, Chandigarh, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Dubai and we'll probably take it to the US. It was written 26 years ago. Everyone was apprehensive about how it would be received now. But it's such a terrific play and yet remains so topical.

"The caste war precipitated by a marriage between two individuals from different sections is so much in the news. The sad truth is not much has changed in our society since Tendulkar wrote the play. Fortunately, the same needn't be said about our cinema. So much exciting work would've not been possible for an actor like me," she said.

Lillette's latest release Bow Barracks Forever has got her rave reviews.

"For the first time I got to share screen space with my daughter Neha. She's not in India right now. She's gone to London for a year now to do her masters. So she's taken a sabbatical from acting. Do I miss her? No chance to do so. We're constantly connected."

First Published: Sep 28, 2007 17:13 IST