The star cast of the ZEE5 Original film Posham Pa, Mahie Gill, Sayani Gupta, and Ragini Khanna in conversation with Anita Britto about working on this psychological drama and what it takes to play such emotionally disturbed characters
Tell us about your respective looks in the film Posham Pa. What went into creating these looks?
Sayani Gupta (SG): Oh! Looking at my look in the film, I have been getting matrimonial calls (laughs)
Ragini Khanna (RK): I thought you would get hair endorsement calls (laughs)
SG: Lot of people told me to fire my hairstylist, after seeing my look. I think people haven’t seen a film of this genre. It’s a crime thriller but I think on seeing my look, people are thinking it’s a horror film (laughs). But, people are very excited, and people are looking forward to seeing the film, it is intriguing and it has got us excited to see the response.
Mahie Gill (MG): This is for the first time I am playing a Maharashtrian and I would just take five minutes to get ready. If they had to show me aged, they just had to add wrinkles to my face; it’s a very interesting look.
RK: Basically, the frame of mind of this character has decided the look of the character, her upbringing. The hazel eyes I get from the kid version of me, so it had to match with that. I play a street kid. I have gone six tones darker for the part, the hair has greyed. So the look changed according to the script’s requirement.
SG: For my look, it would take four hours, and our call time use to be around 4am. My prosthetic team has done an incredible job, the first day I did the look test I wasn’t very sure but later on, it was perfect. So there was this girl who would hold my head and I would fall asleep I would go to sleep looking normal and when I would get up I would find myself like in the film (Laughs). I really enjoy putting together the whole look and the process. But for my younger version I had nothing on my face, no base nothing, which was very satisfying.
To play such an intense character, what kind of brief were you given?
SG: So we all read the script but when Sumanda (Mukhopadhyay, director) called me he said Sayani you can’t say no, because I have a really good part for you and when he said I play a serial killer, I immediately said yes to the film. He sent me some reference images and gave me the storyline. I was intrigued by the world he wanted to create with these women. The script was different and exciting, also Suman da is an intense director and amazing at his craft.
MG: I wanted to work with Suman da since a very long time but it never worked out, I have known him for six-seven years now. So, when he told me the story is of a mother whose journey is from 25 to 55 years, I found it very interesting. My character has many shades- she is a prostitute, a maid, so I really wanted to do this film. It was fun shooting for this film and also working with these wonderful, beautiful women.
RK: Who are not so beautiful in the film... (Giggles)
MG: But yes, Suman da is a great director. He finished this film in 19 days, which is brilliant.
You all shot for the film in quite a few locations, like an actual jail...
RK: Yes, we have shot in a real jail which is in Matunga, it’s a remand home for children...
SG: It was very scary to shoot in those locations.
MG: The locations changed according to the story, but it helped us a lot to bring out the characters.
Was it emotionally draining to portray these characters?
RK: I was petrified after the narration...
SG: She had a break down twice. But, for some weird reason, I was not affected at all.
MG: Even I am emotional, but at the same time I am not one of those actors who get completely engrossed in the character that I am playing, I can’t do that.
But, personally was it disturbing to know that these are inspired by real stories?
SG: Of course! The first time you hear something like this, you are like, Oh My God! what are these people...! But I think as actors you are constantly pushed to not judge any character, you can only empathise with these characters only then will you be able to play them authentically and honestly. Every individual has a reason for behaving a certain way. It is very interesting when in a very non-judgmental way you portray characters that have a different perspective. Suman da just wanted to represent these people without actually having a preconceived notion. I am a schizophrenic in the film. When it comes to mental health there is not much awareness in our country. If you really want to have a world without crime you need to actually treat mental health because it stems from various types of complicated relationships.
RK: Basically it’s a psychological thriller, and having a film like this on a mass platform like ZEE5 screams female toxicity, it’s quite intimidating so that’s scary. Like they say, ‘Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”, so in this film, they are not scorned, they are far beyond that...