After his much successful Bengali outing ‘Rajkahini’, Srijit Mukherji has stepped into Bollywood with its official Hindi remake ‘Begum Jaan’. While Vidya Balan as a raunchy, rebellious Begum Jaan has caught our eyeballs, the film also marks debut of a number of versatile theatre and small-screen actresses. One such is Ridheema Tiwari, a known face thanks to television.
Prior to the film’s release, we got into a candid chat with Ridheema wherein she spoke about her ‘Begum Jaan’ experience at length. Read on!
You are venturing into Bollywood with a versatile filmmaker like Srijit Mukherji and a powerful story like ‘Begum Jaan’. Would you call it your dream debut?
Yes! A perfect galaxy of stars is directly proportional to Mahesh Bhatt/Vishesh films banner. Director Srijit Mukherji, a powerful sroryline & co-actors as Vidya balan, Naseerji (Naseeruddin Shah), Ilaji (Ila Arun), Ashish Vidhyarthi, Chunky (Pandey) & Rajit Kapoor… Who gets all of this in the first film itself? I believe that my patience has paid off & my personal preparation that I went through in this course of life,met opportunity at the right time. So, success is sure shot.
How did the film come to you?
I auditioned at Mukesh Chabbra’s office. I had given many auditions at his place before. After 2 weeks, I got a confirmation call. I was very pleasantly shocked to get a phone call confirming my selection. I was watching a movie that night… I came out of the theatre & was too overwhelmed. Coincidentally, I was watching ‘Raaz 3’ that night.
You’ve been active in television for many years now. How do you find doing a film different than doing a serial?
TV doesn’t challenge you at all. There are pressures, deadlines, creative calls that dampen the spirit of an actor. Also, it becomes monotonous for an actor to keep doing the same thing for years. I always wanted a release to the volcano within me and I am happy it has come out in this film. Films elevate and transport me to another level, I love the homework done before one starts a film. Films are immortal. TV, however well one performs, is short lived in the memory of viewers. Although I believe all mediums are equally important for an actor to experience. You get to learn everywhere. TV taught me ‘switch on switch off’ mode. This film has taught me how difficult it is to switch off.
Do you think Bollywood should have happened to you earlier?
Yes… but no regrets at all! Universe, or god, wanted me to take some more time for preparation. Only when the fruit is ripe should it be handpicked by the expert. Right??? (Also Read: ‘Begum Jaan’: 5 reasons why you shouldn’t miss this Vidya Balan-starrer)
It isn’t a cakewalk to play a prostitute’s character. How did you prepare for it?
Not at all. One has to break open all the barriers and shackles physically and mentally. Easier said than done. I didn’t feel the effort was required at all. I have always been a movie buff and have seen a lot of classics earlier, some of which are a part of my DVD collection too, specially ‘Mandi’. I am blessed to have spent my childhood in Gujarat, which really helped me in this film. Srijit Sir effortlessly helped me inhabit the character of Amba. We did a lot of fun things in our workshop one of which was working on our respective characters’ back stories as to how we had all come to Begum Jaan’s kotha. From this point on, I got so warped into the character that Amba became alive and dominant within me. I reacted to situations, ate, sat, behaved like her. The back story was to be narrated in our respective styles and diction according to our diction that we had worked on… and yes, we did go through an intensive training of rifle shooting too. The rifles were heavy obviously, the old ones (referring to the era of independence). We learnt how to cork & uncork it & Srijit Sir would time us all personally… to check on our speed. I remember he was very happy with my speed.
Do you’ve plans to enter any regional film industry as well?
I never say never. I want to experience everything. I say yes to goodness. To every good subject, good intensity & intentions -Ridheema Tiwari puts her Hands up & says ‘Yes Sir’!
And with this, the pretty lady signs off!