Opportunity always comes masked: Sagarika
She made the crowd go crazy with her performance in Chak De! India. But now Sagarika Ghatge will be seen on the silver screen with Arshad Warsi-Naseeruddin Shah starrer Irada. Recently, she made her debut in the Punjabi film Dildariyaan and she says that a person is more interested in what is happening in their neighbourhood, and regional cinema is a representation of the diverse social, cultural and political ethos of the country.
You are doing a Bollywood film after three years. Tell us about your role in the Arshad Warsi-Naseeruddin Shah starrer Irada.
It’s a very strong character that I’m essaying. My role is that of an independent woman with a strong viewpoint. It’s the journey of a woman through the ups and downs of existence who fights tooth and nail for the truth. I play the lead and I’m not romantically paired with either Arshad or Naseeruddin. In fact I’ve always wanted to work with them.
You have done a Marathi film and a Punjabi film, are you interested in doing a film in the southern regional languages like Tamil, Telugu etc.?
I never say no, an opportunity always comes masked; it’s how well you master it. Regional cinema is where the heart of a common Indian lies and some of the best films have come out of the regional film industries, spread across the country. Generally, a person is more interested in what is happening in their neighbourhood, and regional cinema is a representation of that diverse social, cultural and political ethos of the country. I think of regional cinema as a specialty restaurant, offering authenticity and variety from Bollywood’s multi-cuisine mishmash. Regional films can be escapist and illogical. But they are also often more personal, courageous and unpredictable. The “big” size of Bollywood market is primarily responsible for its popularity. But when it comes to winning accolades and awards at international podium, regional cinema has always made us proud.
Do you think that it is safe for an actor to begin his/her career by doing supporting roles because there are chances that doing a lead role can make or break one’s career?
I say don’t let anyone else tell you what you should or shouldn’t do. If your instincts are telling you to do something, then go ahead and do it. Only by doing things and getting results, either good or bad, will you know what is right for you. Your life and career are not the same as anyone else’s, so you have to do things for yourself and not take other people’s words for it. An actor should know there’s nothing more important than playing moments. Whatever the character or style is, there must be an authenticity, which is only possible when the performer is totally present. To be present is to have your attention on the most important things happening around you, and an ever deeper connection to what those things mean. I feel most actors fail because they don’t know their job. Most actors mistakenly feel that acting is a job in which they do not have to know anything and acting just happens by fate. But they don’t realise that acting is also a craft like carpentry, sculpting, painting and there are disciplines which have to be learnt.
We saw you in Khatron Ke Khiladi season 6. Do you have any plans to make a comeback on TV?
Television is something I’d love to experiment with, provided the opportunity compliments my personality. I won’t do a reality show just for the moolah or the recognition. After Chak De I was offered a lot of opportunities to take on reality shows and daily soaps but as a person I’m very conscious of the decisions I take because I owe my family a responsibility for every step I take. I’m not fussy, I’m just guarded if I have to be honest with you. In the show business it’s all about perception, one wrong move and critics are quick to discard you. Fortunately the universe has been kind and things are shaping out just fine.
Do you think an actor can have a brilliant career in both mainstream cinema and TV?
There is not a huge difference between theatre, film and television. Good acting is good acting, whether on stage or in cinema. As far as the acting is concerned there is not much difference as it is made out to be. All the great film actors in the world are from the stage. Acting isn’t about “me,” it’s about “us.” I fell in love with acting as a child because I was raised in a very generous performing environment. I wish actors understood the power of generosity. That is much more powerful than an individual working for his own notoriety. Remember that synergy makes powerful individuals become a more powerful whole.
I think all actors are self taught. Their level of learning varies with the kind of influences they encounter. If you have encountered nothing but Hindi cinema, you are going to become a certain kind of actor. Similarly if you are from the theatre you will become a certain kind of actor. If you have a certain kind of awareness then you will become a different kind of actor. It varies according to the influences you’ve been exposed to. I feel today acting is more synonymous with how well you Botox yourself rather than how well you know the art. To act in a masala flick you need to have a good body, you need to know how to dress, how to dance, how to fight, how to laugh, how to cry and you don’t need to have an understanding of human psychology or anything because these movies do not contain any of that.