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Perfectly Balanced

There are times when the fate of a film is decided by several elements including the strength of its supporting cast. The recently released October not only boasted critically acclaimed performances from the protagonists but was also backed by some very powerful character actors who provided noteworthy support. And one of them is Isha Chaturvedi (Ishani) who talks to Bhakti Mehta about her role in the film

On The Brief

This film actually just happened to land on my plate when Jogiji (Mallang) was conducting auditions for it. I was very surprised when I got the call. It was surreal. The brief was nothing major. I was told that it was a story about young kids working in the hotel management industry. The movie focused on these four to five youngsters and I had to play the friend of the protagonist. It was pretty basic because we had to be the way we are in our natural space. There were no flourishes, nothing extra.

On The Role

The role was familiar because I live and work in Delhi, which is what the role called for. Plus, Juhi (Chaturvedi) and Shoojit Sircar’s inputs were perfect. I basically did what they asked me to do. I just made sure I was reacting properly in particular scenes. You shouldn’t overact or underact. I just had to be natural, which is difficult for some people because the moment a camera starts to roll, people start acting differently or they overact. You have a tendency to overdo it. And the camera always catches it. Just be yourself. That input which these guys gave me worked really well. Then there are things you learn on the sets by observing  people.

On The Director

Shoojit sir is absolutely effortless. I am an absolute newcomer. There were people on the sets who have done ads like Banita or small things here and there but I had not done anything before. To make someone like me work in that kind of environment requires immense skill. (Laughs). He is a great teacher. There are so many nuances that he understands being from a theatre background. He also gave the actors huge leeway. He gave an outer boundary of what he wanted from you and from the scene and then he just let you be. Inside that boundary, you could do it your way. That was great.

On Her Co-Actors

The vibe on the sets was absolutely great. It was Banita’s first film too, so we got along really well. The assistant directors were also our age so we all gelled well. And Varun, even though he is a big actor, is very chill and isn’t intimidating. Banita and I were stuck to each other’s sides on the sets because it was a first experience for both of us. As an actor, it was unbelievable.

On The Response

A big thanks to Juhi and Shoojit sir for making this film. I simply cried when I saw the film at the screening, seeing what I and everyone else had pulled off. The best thing was the absolute perfection of each and every scene, every take, nothing was overdone, nothing was underdone. It was all perfectly balanced and that is exactly what I hear in the reviews. I think a huge compliment for me was when I was recognised on the street by someone recently. As I said, it has been surreal.

Future Projects

I don’t have anything planned right now but I am continuing my life and giving auditions. I look forward to getting similar roles, something just as brilliant.

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