Posts tagged toughest scene
MUMBAI MIRROR (April 6, 2012)
I have done any number of scenes, both serious and comic. In my time, we just did what the director asked, to the best of our ability. However, one particular scene where I am on the death bed, in Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Satyakam comes to mind as having been extremely challenging.
I remember that film vividly because its theme of corruption in the country remains more relevant today than ever before. I played Satyapriya, an idealist who won’t compromise even if it means losing out on a life of reasonable comfort for his wife and son.
In the scene in question, my character, who is suffering from cancer, has lost his ability to talk. I had to convey Satyapriya’s anguish wordlessly, through my eyes only. At some point, my spiritual guru, portrayed by Dadamoni (Ashok Kumar) walks into my room and says “Now I can berate you to my heart’s content without any retaliation from you”. The words are bitter but they convey his love for me. I had to express I understood what my guru was saying, and that it was out of sheer love he was admonishing me.
Next, my wife, essayed by Sharmila Tagore, who has been a silent witness to my uncompromising life, walks into the room with incriminating papers for me to sign that could relieve my family of poverty in the event of my death.
For the sake of my wife and son, I agree, for the first and last time in my life, to sign the papers. But before I can actually do it, Sharmila snatches the papers out of my hand and More >
I’ve been acting in films for 34 years now. And if I may say so, I’ve done some tricky scenes in my time, both in Bengali and Hindi cinema. But the toughest scene would have to be the very first shoot of my career for Shatranj Ke Khiladi, in 1977.
It was also the first and last film Satyajit Ray directed in Hindi. It was tough because I had to speak in shuddh unalloyed Urdu. And there were Urdu-speaking experts called on the set to make sure no one made even the slightest mistake, while speaking the language.
The success of that scene is something I’d cherish. Only Manikda (Ray) and I knew what a tough time we had doing that scene. If the truth be told, Manikda’s Urdu was even weaker than mine. That scene was a victory for the both of us.
Manikda noticed how the Urdu experts were just waiting for us to go wrong. After all, he was the only other Bengali on the set, besides me. And you know how fluent Bengalis are in Urdu! Thanks to my amazing director’s support, I said my Urdu lines flawlessly.
Manika felt and acted like a gleeful child, after I pulled it off. We shared a very special moment, when we saw the gloom descend upon the Urdu stalwarts – Shama Zaidi, Javed Siddiqui Saeed Jaffrey and the very perplexed producer Suresh Jindal, present on the set.
A month before we shot this scene, these stalwarts had warned Ray about my inability to speak Urdu. This cynicism played havoc with my self-confidence and Manikda’s More >
I don’t think any other scene would come close to being as tough as my speech in Prakash Jha’s Raajneeti. Gosh, it still gives me goose bumps!
The scene was shot in Bhopal. Although it was done in two takes, it just wasn’t an easy one to execute. I think there were at least three reasons why that scene was so mushkil. But before that, let me tell you that it was not difficult because I had to wear a saree for that scene.
I have been seen in glam outfits on screen, but honestly, I am far more comfortable in a saree than in any other attire. Now back to the three reasons:
One, I had to narrate a speech in front of nearly 5,000 people. Think about giving a speech in front of 100 people and your hands would tremble.
Two, my character in the film had to vent all her emotions in that scene.
Three, that scene was the climax of the film. Hence, it had to be done in such a way that it not only creates an impact, but also, leaves a lasting impression as well. It was a very crucial scene wherein I had to take utmost care that I neither underplay it nor go over the top.
A tough scene is generally not a song or a dance. The biggest challenge for an actor is when he or she is asked to portray a gamut of emotions in one scene.Still of the scene from Raajneeti
Talking about tough scenes there are around three that come to mind. But my toughest scene, so far, has to be from 7 Khoon Maaf.
It is the scene when Priyanka and I are talking in the bedroom and she takes off my prosthetic leg.
The scene was draining emotionally as well as physically. It was physically demanding because my leg was tied up tightly to my back, so that the prosthetic leg could be fitted.
And what’s worse is that, I had to stay in the same position for 15 hours. So you can imagine how painful it was!
That apart, the scene was high on emotions. I had to caress Priyanka’s face with the leg, before she pulled it off. The scene involved anger, grief and humour.
While my face required me to express anger, my body language had to suggest my physical and therefore emotional weakness. It took us long to get it right and it was tiresome.
Luckily for the rest of the film, I did not have to wear a prosthetic leg, I simply acted the part.
I guess my toughest scene would be the one in Lal Patthar, where I had to plead with my husband, who was neglecting me for a younger woman.
I was only 23 years-old at that time. Let alone knowing how a spurned woman feels, I had no clue about how to play the role of a rejected wife!”
“People think doing Seeta Aur Geeta was tough for me. In fact, it was a cakewalk. That’s because somewhere even the playful mischievous restless Geeta was part of my outwardly demure personality. So, that was not tough.
Lal Patthar was tough, since I had to play a woman who marries a Zamindar (Raj Kumar) and is then rejected for a much younger woman. I couldn’t understand the insecurities and anxieties of a woman in that position.
At that age I was being pursued by various men, not rejected by any! (laughs). I had to depend completely on the instructions given by my director Susheel Mazumdar.
And still it wasn’t enough. How do I play the role of a woman, whose husband is not interested in her any more after ten-years of marriage? When in reality my problem was male attention and not the lack of it. I had to say clichéd lines like, ‘Mujh mein aisi kaun si kami hai?’, which I found quite funny at that age.The scene from Lal Patthar
Luckily for me my co-star was Raj Kumar with whom I shared a good comfort level. But to add to my discomfort the scene was shot with a stuffed tiger in the frame.
That tiger was supposed to More >
MUMBAI MIRROR; (April 8, 2011)
In every actor’s life there comes a time, which he calls the moment of truth.
That moment came to me in Govind Nihalani’s Ardh Satya, when I had to break down in front of my girlfriend played by Smita Patil. It was a decisive moment, a moment of reckoning where I had to be completely naked emotionally, in front of my co-star.
I had to tell her that I am weak and spiritually impotent. No man likes to come across as vulnerable in front of a woman.
Was that sequence made easier by the fact I had an understanding co-star in Smita Patil? Not really. She didn’t have to contribute to the moment at all. She just had to stand there. It was a soliloquy for me.
I had to find my way through those words of absolute self-honesty for my character. And what beautiful words! Those lines were so well written.
The gravity of a moment of truth always depends on the content. It’s also easy to get carried away in a moment like that in Ardh Satya when the character is in a self-confessional mode.
An actor tends to get self-indulgent in such a scene. He brings in his own angst to the character and resorts to his own pain to make the character’s anguish look real. Meena Kumari used to do that.
The lines between her own pain and that of the character used to blur in her persona. I had to guard against letting my own sorrow merge into the character’s sorrow.
I must confess I crave for those moments of truth in my acting now. That moment of truth came More >
Vickey Lalwani (MUMBAI MIRROR; April 02, 2011)
I’ve done some difficult scenes in my life. You might think that I would pick scenes of chillana and rona dhona but actually my toughest scene was at a night shoot, when I had to express my love to Madhavan in Tanu Weds Manu.
The scene was shot in Lucknow. Although it was done in three to four takes, it still took four hours to complete. It was not easy for me to transform, from the confident girl I played throughout the film, to someone who becomes so vulnerable at that moment.
I had to make sure I didn’t go over the top but also I had to be very convincing. It was a very crucial scene, which was sort of a turning point in the film.
In fact, I remember telling my director Aanand L Rai that I didn’t fully agree with a particular portion of that scene, where he wanted me to tell Madhavan ‘Gaal pe haath rakho toh hi manungi’.Kangna reveals that professing her love for Madhavan in Tanu Weds Manu has been her toughest scene till date
Mr Rai sat me down and explained that it would leave a lasting impression as it would be the purest way to express my love. And today I am really proud of that scene.
A tough scene need not necessarily be one where an actor has to do a lot of research.
Many times the scenes, which read very easy on paper, are the ones that are most difficult to execute.
My toughest scene would have to be one of my songs. I’ve always felt uncomfortable doing songs on screen.
The title song in Sunayana, where I had to sing the love lyrics Aaj in nazaron ko tum dekho aur main tumhein dekhte huey dekhoon to Rameshwari, was particularly painful.
I squirm at the memory of doing the song even till today. What is it about doing songs that makes me so uncomfortable? I really don’t know.
Even when I was in the the Film & Television Institute-Pune, I always skipped the ‘Playback’ class, which focused on playback singing. I just don’t feel comfortable doing it. For the song in Sunayana, I was pretty much left to my own devices.
The concept of a choreographer was pretty alien those days. We’re talking about 30 years ago. The camera was switched on and I was told to do whatever I could. I of course froze. I don’t know how I went through with the song.
From that time, performing to songs has always been problematic for me. I think the root-cause for this lack of connectivity with song sequences is that I’m not too fond of film songs. I can count on my fingers the number of film songs that I like.
The only one I’ve enjoyed performing was Huzoor is qadar bhi na itra ke chaliye in Masoom. That’s because me and Shekhar Kapoor were on the same wavelength.
Also, the songs in the series Mirza Ghalib, were more like poetry recitation.
Jagjit Bhai(Singh)’s singing helped me to grope my way through More >