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“We make the lead actors look good”

The mother’s role has always enjoyed a place of pride in Hindi cinema. It had strength and lent weight to a film, and was once occupied by powerhouse talent ssuch as Nirupa Roy and Lalita Pawar. In recent times, we have watched her play this role with aplomb –  Natasha Rastogi (Ishaqzaade). Over to her

Background

She was born in Delhi’s Chandni Chowk and her father encouraged her to act at every opportunity she got. She fell in love with acting and enrolled with the Delhi College of Arts. She got married early and acting took a backstage. But when her kids started going to school, she started attending Badal Sarkar’s workshops. And thus her journey began.
Initial DaysI did a few TV series like Jasoos Vijay, Zindagi Kitni Khubsurat Hai and Ji Mantri Ji. When I did Ji Mantri Ji, Shubha Mudgal, who is a dear friend of mine, saw me act and asked me if I wanted to do a film.

Monsoon Wedding

Thanks to Shubha, I got my first film, which was Mira Nair’s Monsoon Wedding. I played the character of Sona Verma, the little girl Alia’s mother. I was present in the entire film but the bit where I had to perform was unfortunately chopped from the final cut.One day, I was watching TV with my mother, who said she would like to watch me in a TV serial. I was appalled as I could never imagine myself in those garish costumes, heavy make-up and over-the-top jewellery that actors in the soaps wore. But I thought I should do TV for her sake. And, just then, I got a call from Pradeep Sarkar for a TV commercial. I came to Mumbai and started networking. I made friends and soon landed a role with Sphere Origins’ show Gulaal.

Do Dooni Chaar

I was shopping for my son’s wedding in Delhi when I got a call for an audition for Habib Faisal’s Do Dooni Chaar. The funny thing was that the film also featured my daughter in a cameo as there was a wedding song, where they needed a wedding singer. This film too was a high point in my career as I got to work not only with Habib Faisal but also Rishi Kapoor.

My Name Is Khan

It was a very small role and people on the sets told me Karan Johar would not be directing it himself. But just before I shot the scene, I turned around saw Karan standing in front of me. My legs began shaking. I had to tell him this had never happened to me before. He assured me and I felt at ease immediately. My scene here too was unluckily chopped. But Karan was sweet enough to retain it in the film’s DVD.

Ishaqzaade

I got to work with Habib Faisal once again on Ishaqzaade, where I play Parma’s (Arjun Kapoor) mother. As character artistes, we get very little appreciation but Habib once told me that we’re the guys who make the lead actors look good. My role in Ishaqzaade was appreciated and I feel very proud.

Future Projects

I’m playing Vir Das’ mother in his next Amit Sahni Ki List. I’m playing a new-age mother. She is upmarket and hip and lives in a posh area in Delhi. She also takes pole dancing classes!

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