Reported By: Yatamanyu Narain

Edited By: Bohni Bandyopadhyay

Last Updated: March 19, 2023, 14:08 IST

Kaveri Seth and Suraj Sharma in a still from Gulmohar.

Kaveri Seth shared her experience working with Manoj Bajpaaye, Sharmila Tagore and others on Gulmohar, recalls interesting anecdotes and more in an exclusive conversation with News18 Showsha.

Before playing an important character in Gulmohar, Kaveri Seth’s introduction to films was initiated by the acclaimed-film-maker Mira Nair who had taken her under her wings as an assistant in A Suitable Boy starring Ishan Khatter and Tabu. Being cognizant of Kaveri’s love for acting, Mira extended the role of Shireen Irani and ever since then, there has been no turning back for the actress. Kaveri recently won everyone’s heart with her performance in Gulmohar.

During an exclusive and freewheeling interview with News18 Showsha, Kaveri shared that the sets of Gulmohar was an acting institution with stalwarts like Manoj Bajpaaye and Sharmila Tagore headlining the project. Expressing her adulation for her co-actors, Kaveri shared, “Sharmila Ji felt like very very precise to the craft and she speaks a lot through her eyes… it’s incredible to see her. There is so much pain in her eyes. It is how precise she can be and how much she can speak with her face without actually saying a word.”

Talking about Manoj Bajpaaye, Kaveri revealed, “Manoj Sir is a different institution only. It was incredible watching him. We spent a lot of time together with all of these actors for two months when we were in Delhi. You can see how much Manoj Sir loves his craft and how humble he is still. To explore, to learn. One thing definitely stands out as to how much work he puts into what he does even though we all know he is incredible. Every role he does is brilliant. But even after all these years, there is a lot of work that he puts into it. He also brings nuance and little moments of things or thoughts into what he does or into what makes his performance very interesting. There is a lot more he brings to that character from himself.”

Kaveri Seth also praised Simran Bagga who played her mother-in-law in the film. She shared, “Simran ma’am has been really exciting to watch because she is such a meticulous actor. She knows what she is doing so well that I would always be in awe while watching her because she just knows where the camera is what the scene is and she knows how to play with that. And when you are watching her, you are seeing all this movement, how she is going about it and when you are seeing that on screen, you feel like a whole other type of emotion. So she is quite fantastic and skilled.”

Kaveri Seth essayed Divya Batra in the family drama. While her on-screen rapport with Suraj Sharma was incredible, her character itself was layered. When asked how different Kaveri Seth is from Divya Batra and the quirks she brought to her character, the actress answered, “Kaveri shares some similarities with Divya but also lots of differences. The most obvious one being she is successful, accomplished, determined woman of the corporate job while I am remembered by my art. I have worked in the creative field with designers, photographers and actors. So that’s like a big difference. And what was exciting after the very first conversation with Rahul, that he was sure that woman is very accomplished, driven, successful young woman. But that was not something that he would try to very outwardly present.”

She further added, “In terms of quirks, there is one thing I definitely saw in Divya was that was very organised and particular. She carries herself. Little things like how she includes Reshma the cook into the gathering. That is something I found myself doing a lot in life. Every member in our family including our cook, our cleaner, these are people more often than not I end up comnecting with and bonding with. And that I something Divya also has. We only see the glimpses, you find it there.”

Recalling the big day when an intense revelation scene involving Manoj Bajpaaye, Sharmila Tagore, Amol Palekar and others was shot, Kaveri stated, “it was a very memorable day for me. It’s an intense scene and beautifully executed scene. I remember a couple of days before that, I asked Manoj Sir and others were asking him as well ‘Sir aap nervous ho? Itna intense scene aa raha’. He was like ‘theek hai you know saare scenes important hai. Tumlog bol ke nervous kar doge. Mein toh theek hu. Jo kaam karna hai, sab scenes ke liye utna hi karna hai’. This speaks a lot about him since he genuinely puts in that much of thought and work into every scene that he does. I remember being in that room and just watching everyone and watching Manoj Sir, watching Sharmila Ji. What I love about that scene, there is so much tension since he is rustling with papers, his hands are shaking. You see all of that and then you come to his face and it’s scary.”

“That’s why it works because there is so much contrast in the tension in his body and the pain that is there on his face which sorts of make it all the more real. I remember while watching it, I end up feeling people’s emotions as I think most actors do very deeply. I was just sitting there and it was stressing me out just watching it happen. Because it really felt we were witnessing this heartbreaking revelation. We were seeing the pain in Sharmila Ji’s eyes. Between every shot, I remember I was sitting in the back and there was some sort of obstruction between me and Sharmila Ji but she could kind of see me. My legs were shaking with all that tension. Between every cut, Sharmila Ji would say in a motherly tone ‘Kaveriiii’ just like mothers reprimand us when we shake our legs unnecessarily. Kyuki mujhe itne tension ho rahi thi ye dekhne mein. I was feeling very heavy,” she further recalled.

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