Actresses end up playing wives and girlfriends: Lara Dutta

By Dibyojyoti Baksi

Mumbai, April 30 (IANS) Hindi film heroines still get little chance to take on the burden of a film and end up playing wife, girlfriend or love interest, says actor-producer Lara Dutta, explaining that the name of her production company Bhigi Basanti is a tongue-in-cheek take on how they are viewed in Bollywood.

"Basanti obviously came from 'Sholay' and it's also a typical Hindi film heroine name. I think Bhigi Basanti is a very quintessential, typical image of a Hindi film heroine that has been in cinema across time. For me, it was a little bit of a tongue-in-cheek take also on how heroines are viewed in the Hindi film industry," Lara told IANS in an interview.

The first film from the 33-year-old's production house is "Chalo Dilli", which has got encouraging reviews. Directed by Shashant Shah, it sees Lara in the female lead while Vinay Pathak plays the male protagonist. It hit the screens Friday.

"'Chalo Dilli' was a very special film that came to us. It's not a female-oriented film. It's a story where both the cast have equal amounts to play and it feels nice to make a film, which is not arty or alternate cinema, it's a commercial film with the simple story of a journey," said Lara.

Some might feel the actress is oddly paired with actor Vinay, but says the story demanded so.

"It's not necessary that you do all films with a superstar. If you think you will always do a film with a big actor, you would never get a chance to do a film. The story demanded someone like Vinay. He was very, very suited for the film," said Lara.

"Shashant had written the script keeping Vinay in mind for the male character. He had first approached me to act in the film. He didn't have a producer, neither did he know that 'Bhigi Basanti' existed," she said.

Lara, who recently got married to tennis star Mahesh Bhupathi, was longing to exhibit her acting potential as a solo lead after working in multi-starrers like "Housefull", "No Entry" and "Partner".

"I was waiting for the pressure of delivering. It's not that I was trying to hide away from that. In the industry, you get very little chance, very few scripts where an actress could do something or take the burden of the film and end up being the heroes' wife, girlfriend or love interest," she said.

Acting in a home production doubles the responsibility, realised the former beauty queen.

"Being only an actor I used to deal with staff at one level and being a producer you have to deal with your actors at a different level. I am responsible for the whole unit. When your crew shoots in the freezing cold of Shekhawati, your responsibility multiplies. On the other hand, it's such a high," said Lara.

Did it distract her from acting at any point?

"Not at all. I think the level of professionals we are, once we are in front of the camera, nothing else matters," she said.

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