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From bad guys to strong women to characters with several shades of grey, there are some actors who transcend the characters they are given. The star that stole some limelight from the lead actor in her film last week, Anjali Patil (Malko) in Newton, talks to Bhakti Mehta about the depth of her role


I didn’t get any brief, I got the script directly. I was in Nepal for a month and when I got back, Amit (Masurkar) called me up and said he was trying to get in touch with me. I went to Drishyam’s office and he gave me the script. When I read it, I had to finish it in one go. It was just brilliant. Of course, I was a little worried about the role. It wasn’t about screen presence, woh thoda kiddish lagta hai. It’s about the execution of the role on screen. That was my concern and I spoke with Amit, and things were discovered together and Malko was made.


I think except the dialogues, everything an actor does on the screen is their contribution. It has happened in most of my films. And I have been hearing so many different interpretations of this character Malko, it is amazing. She is very quiet, she hardly speaks, so her expressions have to say a lot. She is strong but feminine and she has her pride, she carries the pride of nature and the jungle. You bring all those things to the table.


We shot in the most beautiful, serene places. Of course, there was no Internet; there was barely any mobile connectivity. We would go on walks which would finish quickly because the area was so small. Jungle mein hum jaate the, at 4-4:30 in the morning, to shoot before sunrise.


Amit is brilliant and clear. I was always asking him questions about what he wanted from the character. I did that because I was representing a community. I am also a woman and there are so many dynamics here. I didn’t want my character to be a sidekick to Newton. We, being a male-oriented industry, don’t write roles from the female point of view so well. But I remember Amit being very cautious about this. Of course, he had the clarity, so we would try to understand each other. And then after the first few days, it all becomes very seamless.


I was actually by myself a lot on the shoot. I was the only woman on the cast. Of course, there were women in the crew. But I would take my chair far and sit and just eat my food and enjoy the silence, enjoy being alone. It just happened very naturally. I could not really talk to Raj and Pankaj Bhaiyya had his own gang, but it was okay. I would just enjoy myself and go sit by the trees.


It’s been absolutely great. I am very happy that people like it so much. The box office numbers are rising. And the news about it being India’s official entry to the Oscars is just fabulous. It increases faith in the film.


My next one is The Silence which comes out on October 6. It is a Marathi film and has won many praises at 30 film festivals. Other than that, there is Aanand L Rai’s production, Nimmo, and Kaala with Rajinikanth.

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