By Mehru Jaffer
Florence, Dec 6 (IANS) Konkona Sen Sharma's "Iti Mrinalini" saw its European premiere at the 10th River to River Festival of Indian Cinema here and the actress maintains that the film is not a biography of her mother Aparna Sen, the director of the movie and her "constant source of inspiration".
"'Iti Mrinalini' is not a biography of Aparna Sen. It is true that there are some surface similarities between my mother and Mrinalini's character since both were successful commercial actresses in the 1970s in Bengali cinema. In that sense I have taken cues from my mother about how to portray the younger Mrinalini," Konkona told IANS in an e-mail interview.
"But, technically speaking, I do not play a young Aparna since the film is not a biography of Aparna Sen," she said.
"Iti Mrinalini" is a film about love, nostalgia and thoughts of suicide by an aging actress.
Konkona has worked with her mother in quite a few films. She acted as Aparna Sen's teenaged daughter in "Titli", the 2002 Bengali film directed by Rituparno Ghosh. The senior Sen has directed Konkana in the films "Mr and Mrs Iyer", "15 Park Avenue" and now "Iti Mrinalini".
"Working with my mother is unlike working with any other director. Since I am so close to my mother, I feel involved with the film and its production at a personal level. I am more protective about the film and the work being done than with other projects that I may be working on," Konkana said.
The award-winning actress says her mother has had a profound influence on all aspects of her life.
"It is a way of thinking, a set of values that I have imbibed from her. It has come to me unconsciously, mostly because of the kind of upbringing I have had. It is therefore impossible to distinguish and compartmentalise what I have learnt from her regarding different issues like marriage, womanhood, cinema...
"She is a constant source of inspiration for me. I admire her strength, her knowledge and her resilience and I have a lot of respect for her," she added.
Konkana's "Mr and Mrs Iyer" had bagged the audience award at River to River seven years ago. And while she was very excited about "Iti Mrinalini" being screened here Dec 3, the actress did not accompany her mother.
Konkana recently married long-time beau and actor Ranvir Shorey and is expecting her first child. But she doesn't say whether that was the reason she didn't attend her film's premiere.
She, however, maintains that marriage is no big deal for her and her professional life doesn't really affect her personal life.
"What is more important is that one is in a committed relationship," Konkona said.
She also says that while she was working on "Iti Mrinalini", she was not thinking about her own marriage.
"One is constantly doing films where one plays a character. Usually working in a film does not affect my personal life in any way, thankfully!" Konkona said.
(Mehru Jaffer can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org )