Art & Entertainment

Sharmila Tagore Returns To Screen With 'Gulmohar', Says She's An 'Accidental Actor'

Sharmila Tagore took a nostalgic detour when she said that she has a special connection with Holi, which plays a big part in the storyline of her upcoming film, 'Gulmohar', directed by Rahul Chittella, Mira Nair's former assistant.

Sharmila Tagore

Sharmila Tagore took a nostalgic detour when she said that she has a special connection with Holi, which plays a big part in the storyline of her upcoming film, 'Gulmohar', directed by Rahul Chittella, Mira Nair's former assistant.

Tagore also talked about her professional journey and called her co-stars trained actors, while she considers herself an accidental actress, who was put in front of the camera by Satyajit Ray.

The 78-year-old celebrated actress, who is at the moment busy with the promotion of her upcoming film 'Gulmohar', an emotional family drama that plays out in upscale Delhi, said: "Oh my God! Holi used to be celebrated madly in Kolkata. I never tried bhang because that was beyond my capacity, but I've seen people doing that."

"But we used to play it in our Tripura house. We used to go to the lake and swim there after playing Holi. After coming back, I would find snails in my clothes or stuck in my hair. It was such fun."

She told IANS: "I don't know when it stopped. I remember that in Mumbai we had moved from our house to somebody else's because it was being renivated, and my mad friends came in with colours and started playing inside the house. I said, 'For God's sake, this is somebody else's house you can't ruin it', still they didn't stop."

"But it was a lot of fun. It was all with real colours and nothing hazardous. I have very fond memories of Holi every year."

Sharmila started her acting career at the age of 14 with 'Apur Sansar' ('The World of Apu'), Satyajit Ray's third film in the acclaimed 'Pather Panchali' trilogy. There was no looking back for her in her acting career and she not only established herself in Bengali cinema, but also became a prominent Bollywood star.

Her innocence and beauty while playing a Kashmiri girl in the 1964 romantic film 'Kashmir Ki Kali' created magic in the era of 1960s. She starred opposite Rajesh Khanna in 'Safar', 'Amar Prem', 'Aradhana', 'Daag' and many such movies. From legendary actor Dilip Kumar to Bollywood stars like Dharmendra, Shammi Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan, and Sanjeev Kumar, she acted opposite all these big names in the industry.

Apart from making her place in commercial cinema her strong characters in 'Aradhana', and 'Anupama' also left an everlasting impact on the audiences.

After her last film, 'Break Ke Baad' which was released in 2010, she is back with 'Gulmohar', a complete family drama that revolves around her character, Kusum.

A central figure who takes important decisions for her family and till the end tries to make them stay together. She essays a strong and independent woman. The movie is all about family values and how small differences can create issues and if they are not solved calmly, and with patience, everything falls into place.

Holi is very relevant in the entire storyline. It begins with the same and ends at its celebration when the entire family comes together.

As Sharmila is making an appearance after a decade years with this film, it is more special for her and she said that she enjoyed working with all the young and talented actors.

She said: "I think it was a fabulous experience working with Manoj, who's you know, 'Hotstar' today along with Suraj, Simran, and lots of other people. It was just fantastic. And [director] Rahul Chittella's script was fabulous. When he spoke to me, I identified with Kusum instantly, I understood the character, and just one thing came to mind, 'I want to play this'."

Then the pandemic happened and things got delayed. And like it wasn't meant to happen, but when it did happen, it was meant to happen. So it was a wonderful experience."

Ask her if she felt something new or was she nervous, Sharmila looked back and said: "Rahul was very clever. On the first day of shooting, everyone from the cast was present. The shoot began with a song and it was difficult as too many things were happening. There was the interaction between Suraj (Manoj Bajpayee) and Indu (Simran), and the maid coming in with the tray, and all these sequences are shot together."

He said: "So we needed to understand the situation and then act accordingly but for us, it was stress-free. We met all the members of the cast and interacted with each other. So it broke the ice on the first day of the shooting. There were a few dialogues and interesting things happening also. So that first shooting was a lot of fun and as it started with the song everybody was kind of relaxed."

As the actress is handling many things at home and she has raised her kids and is part of a big family, somewhere she relates to the story and her character.

Sharmila shared: "Yes in a certain way Kusum does reflect my own experiences, but at the same time, I don't approach it like that. I see Kusum as Kusum. As Manoj said in a very nice way in another interview, you go inside yourself and see whatever you find matching or not matching and go through your own experience."

She went on: "And then you bring it forth to your character that you are playing in the film and maybe delete some keep some older some it can be exactly me not replica of me. But it's a different identity called Kusum."

Sharmila concluded by adding: "I have put all the efforts into my character whether I've succeeded or not, I don't know. But that's the effort. I mean, unlike Manoj, etc these are all trained actors. I'm not trained. I'm an accidental actor. I was found by Satyajit Ray and put in front of the camera. People liked me and the story began but I learned on the job. So that's also kind of learning and working with all these marvelous actors."

Directed by Rahul V. Chittella, 'Gulmohar' also features Amol Palekar, Suraj Sharma, Simran, and Kaveri Seth. It is produced by Star Studios in association with Chalkboard Entertainment and Autonomous Works.

'Gulmohar' is set to premiere on Disney+ Hotstar on March 3