Thanks to Tiger Zinda Hai, we ended the year with a superhit movie in cinemas. And while many are raving about the lead stars in the film, Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif, supporting actor like Anupriya Goenka formed the backbone of this epic action movie. Here, he tells Bhakti Mehta the secrets of her craft
On The Brief
When I was first offered the script, I was told that it will largely be about rescuing these women from a hostage situation. According to the story, Tiger and the crew go there and get them out. It was all based on a real-life incident. And there was a need for a gloomy situation. Ali (Abbas Zafar), the director, told me that the nurses would bring the emotional value to the film, everything else would be fast-paced and action based. He said my heart should go out to the nurses and the entire film would fall apart if that did not come through.
On The Role
I read up on the incident, how the nurses were extracted, the process etc. I also saw a few movies based on terror attacks to get a sense of them, and there were some very detailed workshops too. But Ali said he didn’t want us to do too much prep work because he wanted us to react on a personal level to the situations in the script. He wanted it to be raw and natural, not rehearsed. It had to be our interpretation of the situation.
My character Poorna is the head nurse. She looks after everyone while she deals with her own fears. She is calm, composed and stable because she cannot fall apart. At the same time, the human being in her has to shine through too.
The strength, the panic, the pathos, the vulnerability and all the other emotions that one would feel in such a situation has to be communicated by her. She is the backbone as the other nurses lean on her. But she also has to show some amount of fear while dealing with the situation.
On The Challenges
The biggest challenge was the location that we shot in. The weather conditions were tough because we were shooting in around 50 degrees Celsius. The scene where I am applying a bandage to Abu Usmaan was our first shot on the first day in Abu Dhabi. It was so hot that everyone was sweating while they were saying their lines. Six people fainted on the set due to the heat. So, yes, it was very tough but we sailed through. More than the actors, the crew worked really hard. Hats off to them and to Ali for managing a shoot like this.
On The Director
I have known Ali for two and a half years as I had auditioned for another of his films. But this is the first one where I got the chance to be directed by him. It was just amazing. He is such a put-together director, he knows what he wants and is very clear in his mind. Also, this is a director’s movie which has action, style, humour, drama… everything. Plus, he has made this movie for the masses while also keeping the niche audience happy, giving everyone a full package. It is not easy for a director to strike a balance like this.
Also, he has given each character their due in the movie. One of the best things about Ali is that he lets you be, he isn’t overbearing as a director. He lets you know that he is available if you need his help.
On her Co-stars
Working with everyone on the Tiger Zinda Hai team was amazing. We became a family while working on this movie. A few of the actresses playing the nurses, Parvesh, Angad and even some of the crew members, came together and became a unit. When you live, eat and hang out together, you tend to form a bond. The best part is, the bond is still there, we have kept in touch with each other.
On The Response
The response has been overwhelming. Everybody loves the film. People really like my role in it and I am extremely grateful. My family, relatives and friends are very happy and I am getting a lot of messages on Instagram and Twitter from the public.
2018 will start with Padmavati being released and I am very excited. I had also done a movie with Nagesh Kukunoor a year and a half ago and we are hoping it will release this year. I am also doing an interesting web series with Vikramaditya Motwane. Apart from this, I am talking to a few people about other projects.