Priya Bapat is one of the most sought-after actresses in the Marathi film industry. She has given some stellar performances and earned accolades too. Priya has been part of Nagesh Kukunoor's 'City of Dreams' for many years now and has received lots of appreciation for her character, Poornima Gaikwad, the daughter of influential politician Ameya Gaikwad (Atul Kulkarni). Priya in an interview with Outlook revealed that she is very different from Poornima yet there are certain traits that she and her character have which are similar. Bapat who made her OTT debut with 'City of Dreams' in 2019 also said that it's because of the show, the Hindi film fraternity has recognised her.
Excerpts from the interview:
Priya Bapat as Poornima Gaikwad is fierce, feisty, strong, and intelligent. Was it ever difficult for you to play such a character that is totally opposite to your real-life persona?
I wouldn't say difficult but of course, it is challenging and an actor always looks forward to have more and more challenges. An actor doesn't want to do the same mundane role or the same character every time. Yes, it was challenging and it was very different from my persona as you rightly said. I am not the kind of personality Poornima is but there is some inner calling that is very common. We both are like people who will fight for the right thing and they are very honest. So, there are some qualities that we have in common and that I feel was a point which I could hold on to and the rest are the external things. Emotionally I had to just calm myself down and be a little patient with myself in terms of reactions till the time I was shooting.
What can the audience expect from you from 'City of Dreams 3'?
The third season is filled with politics, build with drama, it's more layered. It has nuanced performances and every character has been edged out very nicely. In the third season, you will see friendship, rivalry, revenge, and three times more drama.
How was it working with Nagesh Kukunoor? What have you learned from him?
I think he helped me a lot. A lot of times this used to happen with me, that I was performing in a certain way, and in my head I had that thought right. I thought that I am delivering what I am delivering but it is very important that every small detail of your face should translate the emotion that you are actually feeling and thinking in your head right now. So, he kind of guided me throughout the first season by literally taking me line by line through that how one actor should unfold the graph of the scene from one point to another point not only in your head but also on your face. It's not that he performed and I imitated him. No, it's not that simple. He didn't act or perform. He didn't tell me or showed me how to do it. He just showed me the correct emotion, correct direction, and thoughts which immediately struck a chord in my head and I felt like 'Oh my God, now I know what I have to do'. So, it's a very different dynamic and I can't explain that in words but it is something that you discover, learn, and experience. But as long as it helped me as an actor and it helped me deliver the performance and also made me realise how am I supposed to read a scene when I am reading a scene from point A to point B.
You have given stellar performances in the Marathi film industry. 'City of Dreams' is your OTT debut and you have got so much recognition as people are watching it all across the nation. Do you think it is the turning point of your career?
It definitely was a turning point when the first season came. After 'Kaksparsh', in the Marathi fraternity, people took me seriously as an actor. After the first and second seasons, especially after the second season of 'City of Dreams', people in the Hindi fraternity realised, 'Oh my God, there is also this actor now'.
What do you have to say about women-centric content getting popular with the OTT boom in India? What do you have to say about the overall content?
I think it's an appreciative change that we are seeing and that is not only about women-oriented content. I think it's more because the writers are getting the freedom to write what they want to write. There are platforms where different kinds of stories are being told. So, every story is getting attention and its due weightage and I really like the fact that there are nuanced characters that are being written be it a male or a woman character. That's only because everyone has got a platform to express, in the genre and the narrative they want to tell a story.
We saw you doing a few small roles in Hindi films like 'Munna Bhai MBBS' and others. If you are offered a solid role, are you ready to do it?
I just did a film. It's yet to be released but I did a film with a very strong character.