Nandana Sen on matters close to her heart

Priyanka Dasgupta (BOMBAY TIMES; October 8, 2010)

There is an enigma surrounding you. How much of an intellectual is the real Nandana?
Hmmm… I think, I am more geeky than “intellectual”. I love to read books, yes, and I like to write too, but that’s just one part of me. There are so many other parts that are just as alive and urgent — that love to eat, to dance, to cook, to preen, to ride my bike, to play with my niece, to sing film songs (badly), to get drenched in the rain, to buy a pink suitcase, to be hugged by my mother, or be enchanted by a love letter…

Have you ever found yourself being objectified? If yes, how did you handle the situation?
Any woman in showbiz is lying if she says she’s never felt objectified. In fact, any woman — period. I have always, with no exception, rejected any role I felt would objectify me. But let’s understand one thing — being objectified is totally different from choosing to express one’s sensuality. In fact, they are absolute opposites. The former robs you of your humanity, while the latter celebrates it. Incidentally, men are equally objectified in our business. In a way, isn’t the whole entertainment world about turning a person into an object — a product or a “brand” — even if you are SRK?

You’ve been in a relationship for quite sometime now. Do you have any reservations about the trend of talking/advertising partners?
I think, it’s entirely up to the individual. I don’t believe in lying about it, even though that’s the norm for girls in this business. If I am in a relationship, you would never find me saying, “I am single and ready to mingle!” or “We’re just good friends”. But nor do I believe in making every detail public. In some ways, I am a very private person. But that’s just me.

Your on-screen character in Autograph is in a live-in relationship. Both on-screen and off it, do you think marriage is really very important in today’s age?
It depends entirely on the couple in question. In Autograph, the young lovers are best friends as well as passionately in love. Their dynamics show an intensely real, contemporary, non-‘filmi’ face of urban romance. Off- screen, I believe making a commitment to the one you love is very important — whether private or public. Just as a live-in relationship can have every strength and loyalty of a perfect marriage, I have seen marriages where spouses are happy to live separate lives, emotionally and/or sexually. I’m no prude, but a marriage like that would never work for me. I’m a die-hard romantic and would always prioritise loyalty and trust over a nominal social or public status with no true commitment within. That said, do I think I’ll get married one day? Absolutely!

Knowledge can sometimes be a baggage for an actor. Do you find it difficult to become a mould of clay in the hands of a director?
As an actor, I believe that nothing is more important than surrendering totally to the director’s vision. I may have questions, I may need to understand something better or differently, but I will always trust the director completely to make the right choice.