Lara Dutta
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Former Miss Universe Lara Dutta says ‘Age has liberated her’ as she continues to pick up projects that can show her in a different light. After having portrayed her share of glamorous roles, Lara is now looking for projects that can challenge her as an actor. Be it playing late Miss Indira Gandhi in Bell Bottom or playing a police officer in Hundred, Lara has been pushing the envelope for herself. She will be seen playing a rather unique character this time with Kaun Banegi Shikharwati where she plays princess Devyani, the eldest daughter who can be a pain with her need to be controlling and perfect.


Speaking at length about how she feels fortunate to be an actor in today’s time and drawing comparisons on how roles for female actors have changed today, Lara says, ‘People can see beyond glamour today.’ In an exclusive chat with Bollywood Bubble, Lara Dutta speaks about the opportunities going forward and her experience being Princess Devyani on the sets of Kaun Banegi Shikharwati.


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I remember the last time we spoke, you mentioned that you are glad that people can finally see you for the actor you are. Do you feel liberated?

Yes, I do and I feel that it is also because I have gotten older and age has liberated me finally. People can see beyond glamour and offer me roles that I always wanted to do in my career. I am finally doing the kind of work I always wanted to do.

Tracing the kind of choices you have been making recently, is it an conscious effort to break free from conventional roles and experiment more?

Yes, it is a conscious choice. I am offered a lot of things to do in OTT space. I am grateful and blessed to be in a place to pick and choose on what I want to do. I think it gives me an opportunity play diverse characters. Even now, the things I will be doing further on are very different from what I have already done. That’s why I say that age really liberated me. It gave me a chance to now really flex all my acting muscles, go to places I couldn’t go before and dabble with roles I hadn’t got a chance to do before. What an incredible opportunity to play Indira Gandhi in a film that was essentially a commercial film helmed by a big hero. I am having the best time as an actor right now.

It is interesting how you mentioned big-hero centric films. With OTT, I think there has been a huge shift to this star culture in general. Do you feel that too?

I definitely think so. I think OTT space has given birth to so many actors who until now had gone unnoticed. It is not like these actors suddenly tapkoed. They were always here, but because films have been so formula driven so hero-driven, some of these actors never really had an opportunity to shine. I feel that’s the case with female actors today. I think females were written so limitedly in terms of their characters, they were either playing hero’s girlfriend or wife, somebody’s mother, but you never really told the story of the woman herself, what is she, who is she about? OTT has changed that dramatically. You have got woman who are diabolical, ambitious, relatable, that’s how we all are in different times of our life. That narrative has definitely change. Content is the king. For sure.

Interestingly, when I watch old films today, I, as an audience, feel infuriated seen women being reduced to minimal roles. Do you feel that too? Do you see a change in that?

To be honest, when I watch old films especially the Vimal Roy’s film from the 1950s, 1960s, those were the times when a woman was displayed for all that a woman could possibly be. Women characters were much stronger than what we saw in the 1980s, 90s, 2000s. There was a point of time when before signing the film, you were looking if the film has any outstanding song which would eventually help you make more money by performing to it than you get paid for being an actor in that film. It had come down to that. It is an incredible jump from then. I am in my 40s, and I am playing characters right for my age. It is refreshing to do that. You are catering to an audience that is so under-addressed, as if they never existed. Characters have become so real. I love that.

Speaking of Kaun Banegi Shikharwati, you also work with an ensemble. How was that experience like?

For me, just the fact that I was getting a chance to work with Naseer Ji was my number 1 reason to say yes to the show. Naseer Ji has been on many wish list to work with for a long time. I loved the concept of the show, very contemporary show which is not set in the past. The dysfunctional family, the fact that there are four sisters and one has to become a heir, the fact that it shatters the gender norms, I love the concept, and the world we were stepping into. My character is also very fun who loves being in control and has no control at all.

Devyani is sort of a perfectionist and someone who needs to be in control. Do you relate to that characteristics of her as Lara?

Actually, yes I do. I love being in control of things, I am a bit of a perfectionist and I am the hardest on myself which is the same with Devyani (laughs). The only difference is that I am the youngest in my family so I was pretty used to being bullied by siblings in life. Here’s I was the eldest, so I got to channel all of that experience here.

This might sound cheeky, but in one of the scenes you’ll are seen wearing green tracksuits for a competition within the story. I couldn’t help but be reminded of Squid Game immediately. Was there any referral point there?

No, We were in our green tracksuits even before Squid Game released. So it was just a coincidence but it is interesting how colours plays a very important part in the show, it kind of stitches the world that is created is very Wes Anderson kind of a world where all the Rajkumari-s are dressed in a certain colour which shows off their personalities. It is a very dystopian world that you are setting into.

How is your daughter reacting to seeing you play a princess onscreen?

Yes, she loves it. All these kids have grown up watching Disney stories so for her, this is like an Indian version of Princess Diaries. She is very excited and thrilled that her mother is playing a Rajkumari.

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