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A humorous take on India's sterilisation drive

Makdee fame actor Shweta Basu Prasad makes her digital debut with Zee5’s social satire ‘Shukranu’ – a film based on true events from 1975, wherein a man is forcefully sterilised just before marriage

A humorous take on Indias sterilisation drive

Actor Shweta Basu Prasad, popularly known for her performance as a child artist in the movie Makdee, recently made her digital debut with Shukranu. The Zee5 movie recounts the days of sterilisation drive in India in a humorous way.

In conversation with Millennium Post, the national award-winning actor talks about her character in Shurkranu, recreating Sharmila Tagore's look for the movie and more. Read on to know more.

You have recreated Sharmila Tagore's look from 70s for your movie Shukranu.Whose idea was it?

Shukranu is set in the 1970's India and therefore my look in the film was completely inspired by the iconic era. After the narration, writer and director of Shukranu, Bishnu Dev Haldar, told me that my character's look would be inspired by Sharmila Tagore. I was elated to know that because I have grown up watching her films.

In the film, not only the look but the set was also designed with telephones, scooters and cars of that era.

When you dress up as someone else, it adds a certain amount of responsibility into the character as well. What kind of preparation you did for this role?

Not really, the story or my character wasn't based on a real person, though it adds certain responsibility when that happens. But having said that, it does make a difference, at least initially. When we started doing the look tests, it did feel a bit surreal. But preparations wise, I worked on my language a lot because having grown up in Mumbai, it was a task to portray Reema who is from the remote UP village. Besides that, since Reema is pregnant in the film, we had to give a lot of attention to the body language as well.

I have seen my cousins and friends who have babies so I tried to imitate the way they walked, sat and rubbed their bellies.

Since the film is based on sterilisation, how much sterilisation is needed in today's time when India is ranked the second-highest populated country in the world after China?

I am not sure if sterilisation is the right way to curb the population. But forced sterilisation during the emergency era was inhuman and our film tells the story of one such person who went through that and how it affected his life. So in order to curb our population, the government should make it mandate for every family to go for adoption after having one biological child. There are so many kids out there who deserve a home, a family and privileges that all of us do. I think a little compassion can take us a long way as a nation.

Since you are acting from a very young age, does it help you to play versatile characters and at different platforms?

I have been doing films for 18 years now but very sporadically. In the meantime, I took a long break for my studies and resumed acting actively only for a couple of years now.

Apart from acting for television and films, my behind the camera work, which includes making a Netflix documentary, assisting Anurag Kashyap, working at Phantom as a script consultant and producing short films, has also added to my understanding of projects, stories and characters.

I am happy with the kind of characters and projects that I am doing at the moment. I am still learning.

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