Suchitra Pillai has made a mark in the industry with impressive performances in films like ‘Dil Chahta Hai’, ‘Page 3’, ‘Laaga Chunari Mein Daag’, ‘Fashion’, etc. Not just on the big screen, she has also made her presence felt on the small screen as she was an anchor, VJ and has also been a part of many TV serials. The versatile actress is now all set to showcase her impeccable acting talent on the big screen once again in the film ‘Tikli and Laxmi Bomb’ which is directed by Aditya Kripalani. The movie, based on a book with the same name is set against the backdrop of prostitution.
Recently, we interacted with Suchitra and she spoke about her role in the movie, her take on prostitution in India, and many other things.
Tell us something about your role in ‘Tikli and Laxmi Bomb’?
I play the character of Manda who is the prostitute from the rival gang. She is a multi-lingual speaking prostitute. She is one of those who are under the thumbs of cops. She likes to stick with the norm, but then she has a change of heart towards the end. The character is basically a South Indian one, but as I said she is multi-lingual in the film. She is very muhfat and very straight to the point.
Earlier, you have also played the characters that had grey shades. So, how different is your role in this film from the one’s which you have done in the past?
Totally different, there is no grey angle in this one. It is not something like a bitchy girlfriend, or a wife, anything like that. Everyone who is playing a prostitute, each one has their own USP, so there’s no blurred line between people’s characters. When I read the book right in the beginning, Aditya (Kripalani) told me that he wants me to play one of the lead roles. But, then look wise I didn’t suit the part, so then I was not going to do the movie at all, and we both were really upset about it as we know each other since 8-9 years. Then he came up to me saying that there’s Manda’s character which was not big as it is now, and told me what if we increase it. I will always be grateful to him for that. I have quite a few scenes and they are hard-hitting.
The movie revolves around prostitution. So what are your personal views on prostitution in India?
I appreciate countries like Holland, etc. where it (prostitution) has been legalised. There are less chances of rape in a country where it is legalised. Girls in this profession are forced into it or due to some circumstance they have to be in it. I appreciate the fact that some of them are bindaas, and they say it that this is our lives, and this is how it is going to be. A body is a body, and what you want to do it with your own body is your own issue, and it shouldn’t be anybody else’s issue. So, in a country like India, it should be legalised, so there will be less chances of frustration in our male adults here.
You have played many bold characters on the big screen. So aren’t you nervous or hesitant to take up the roles?
Not at all, I played a prostitute long time ago ‘Waisa Bhi Hota Hai Part II’. I think for an actor it is brilliant to portray different kind of characters, and something which is so different from the ordinary. It is so easy to play a girlfriend or a rich wife, but something like this which is totally out of your ordinary life. I think that’s what challenges an actor that’s what makes it more interesting. I crave for roles like this.
You have been one actress who has balanced television and films quite well. How do you manage it?
And theatre! (Laughs) Time management is the key. I love to keep in touch with theatre because it gives me adrenaline rush to be on the stage live in front of people, you don’t have to wait for the review like a movie, it’s there in front of you either they clap or they draw you off the stage. I have been doing a play, ‘Dance Like A Man’ since 19 years now, but I still get butterflies in my stomach when I do. We have done 540 shows across the world, but that feeling you don’t get when you are standing on a set unless you are doing a phenomenal scene. Yes, TV and films are high, but I make the time for theatre because of job satisfaction. It is brilliant to see yourself on big screen and TV is the biggest reach which is why one wants to do it.
You have been a part of the industry since many years. But, why haven’t we seen you more in a lead role?
A lead role that I had done was in ‘Karkash’, a film which was very hard-hitting. It only went to festivals because it was put into the art house bracket. It was a fabulous women-empowerment film, and I am sad that more people couldn’t see it. They watch it on YouTube and appreciate it. But, recently I have done a Hollywood film titled ‘The Valley’ in which I am the lead opposite Alyy Khan. We shot in San Francisco. It’s my second Hollywood film, the first one which I did was a strong character in the film ‘The Other Side of the Door’, and it was a horror film for 20th Century Fox.
A VJ, an anchor, a model and an actress, you have done it all. But, what do you enjoy the most?
Acting and singing, I am a singer too. My second album will be released soon. I write my own songs. I sing in English and Hindi, and I have my own band. So, singing is another big high for me. Anything that is in front of the audience I love that. Veejaying and all is very easy for me. But, acting is what challenges you and singing is where you actually get to showcase your talent.
You are currently doing the serial ‘Ek Shringaar Swabhiman’ where you play a negative character. The serial showcases that girls from middle class family get married to guys from higher class. So, do you feel that marriages should happen in equal class only?
No, definitely not. There are still pockets in this country where all this things still goes on. But, I would like to say that if one is a part of a modern upbringing then this doesn’t happen. I am married to a foreigner, so my story is totally different. But, you can’t ignore the fact that it still happens definitely. There are places in India where all of this is still very much relevant that’s why we have audiences still watching it.
My last question is, in our country there multiples issues like poverty, illiteracy, communal tension, rapes, lack of cleanliness and a lot of things. Through our medium would you like to give any message to the people of India?
Definitely, cleanliness of the country is a very big thing, and global warming. People are not taking global warming seriously at all that’s one thing that hurts me because I am a mother. When I think about what life will be for them later on as far as the environment is concerned that worries me, and that’s what people mainly need wake up and smell the coffee about. Global warming is a big issue that nobody is taking serious especially in India.