Pooja Bhatt, who plays with Netflix’s Bombay Begums again, says there are a lot more options for actors today than there was in the 1990s when she didn’t have many socialmediagossips to relate to.
The actress, director, and producer, who debuted with Daddy in 1989, said it was always important for her to make films that she could live with.
The actor, daughter of veteran filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, made critically acclaimed appearances in films such as Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahin, Sadak, Phir Teri Kahani, Yaad Aayee, Sir and Zakhm before dating Tammana, Sur, Paap and in the production and direction dared vacation.
In 2020, she guested in Sadak 2, the sequel to her 1991 film, but Bombay Begums marks her full-fledged return to acting.
“Back then I worked a lot less than my contemporaries. I may have made about 23 films in my life while others may have made 80 or 90. But I decided to follow my heart and do things that I could live with, ”Bhatt told PTI in an interview.
“In the 1990s I felt isolated and lonely in large parts because there weren’t very many socialmediagossips I could identify with,” she added.
The 49-year-old star said a small screen and her life were “somehow intertwined” when her debut film was televised in 1989 and she is doing a show on a streaming platform in 2021.
“I think it’s an intimate storytelling platform, but yeah, there are a lot more options today. I think that’s why we have different actors. But there is also an equal level of banality. I know because there’s no going on just speaking profanity or undressing. “
Bombay Begums, directed by Alankrita Shrivastava, explores the dreams and desires of five women from different walks of life who are struggling to survive in Mumbai.
Bhatt plays the role of Rani, the executive director of a private bank who sets out to tackle the murky corporate world while taking on the duties of a woman and a mother.
Among the many characters, the show features a 12-year-old girl reaching puberty and a 49-year-old menopausal woman who approached the actor.
“Women believe that this means the end of their life, the end of desire and the end of sexuality. But being able to play a woman who is right in the middle of the action and still has her impulses and follows them is a rarity, ”said Bhatt.
The actor hoped to get different roles, like that of Bombay Begums
“But I’m in no hurry. People keep asking me if Bombay Begums opened a Pandora’s box. But I ask, ‘You know what? That happened to me. But I’m pretty happy if that’s the only thing that happens to me. ‘I’m pretty happy with the way it played out for me. “
Bhatt said her character of Rani, like many women in powerful positions in India, is the queen of this world as CEO of a private bank. She has to navigate through the gloomy corporate world and at the same time reconcile a complicated family life.
The actor said the show looks at women from different walks of life as they steer expectations around them to be multi-dimensional, which is best portrayed in Shahana Goswami’s character of Fatima.
“I mean, Rani has her own problem and she’s fighting this fight, but still allowing herself to have an affair with someone. Fatima is always so hard on herself. We see our body as an enemy, we are very hard on ourselves. “
According to Bhatt, women have these pressures to deliver on the work front and are also expected to make great housewives. Men, on the other hand, have the privilege of getting up and walking out and someone else reaches for them.
“We are our worst critics. If you are not kind to yourself, no one will cry for us. I think empathy starts with you. Treat yourself properly. Allow yourself to fail. And then the world will be a little more accommodating, ”she added.
The six-episode series, which also includes Amruta Subhash, Plabita Borthakur and Aadhya Anand, premieres on Netflix on March 8, International Women’s Day.
Bhatt believes that patriarchy is not gender specific as there are many women who show acute patriarchy.
“I think women fall into this trap more often than not. So it’s not something that only men come across us. We take that somewhere and somehow reinforce it. We do this by not turning our backs on each other in many ways. Getting other women to pay the price for what we couldn’t be or what was imposed on us in some way, ”said the actor.
In order for an actual change to take place, the differences must be let go.
“I think life is a constant process of unlearning and in such a polarized world where we are just projecting, it’s time we stop and ask the other person how they are feeling,” said Bhatt.