Nagesh Kukunoor does a Smita Patil with Sameera Reddy in Yeh Hausla

By Subhash K. Jha, Bollywood Hungama News Network

Sameera Reddy has been shooting on the outskirts of Jodhpur in Rajasthan with peacocks, for the last 46 days. The film entitled Yeh Hausla has her playing a Dalit woman. Now leaving for Singapore to do the new Priyadarshan comedy is a bit of a stretch for Sameera.

"Where I shot with Nagesh was a different world completely without trappings of urban life. I felt I had gone back to basics," sighs Sameera.

"I was in a ghagra-choli walking bare feet in the mud and these peacocks would accompany me everywhere. I've never been so close to Nature before. And the thought of flying off to Bangkok for my next film gives me strange feeling of cultural dislocation."

The Kukunoor film came Sameera's way almost by default. It's a role Smita Patil would've played for sure if she were alive. Kukunoor has been hearing Bengali auteur director Buddhadeb Dasgupta's comparing Sameera to Smita after working with her in two films.That's how Sameera landed in Smita's chappals... bare feet, that is.

After walking in the parched desert land for 46 days playing this spirited no-nonsense Dalit woman, Sameera's feet seem ready to take on the world.

Nagesh too has forgotten the injury caused by his last release Bombay to Bangkok. When the release of Nagesh Kukunoor's Aashayein featuring John Abraham got delayed the director didn't waste time. Off he went to Jodhpur for a start-to-finish one-stretch shooting of a film entitled Yeh Hausla on the life of a Dalit woman , a very Smita Patil kind of character for which he signed Sameera Reddy.

Sameera who's just back in Mumbai after shooting the film is in a state of shock. "I never knew I could do these things. And this Smita Patil comparison is getting uncanny. It was Buddhadeb Dasgupta who first compared me with her. And now doing Yeh Hausla, I actually felt I was connecting with Smita's spirit. Maybe it was the pure un-spoilt ambience and that whole spirit of Chakra and Manthan that Smita is associated with."

Sameera has returned exhausted but satiated with the experience. "I feel I've gone to acting school. Nagesh has taught me so much. I've connected with emotions within myself that I never knew existed. Other actors came and went. But I was there for the full 47-day schedule. I'm in every frame of the film."

It was John Abraham who told Sameera to grab the role with both hands. "He also told me to do it at one stretch. I realized it was the only way to play this character. I didn't return to Mumbai even for a day."

Looking back at the experience Sameera sighs, "I feel I'm now born as an actor. When people see me in Yeh Hausla I hope they see me and not just Smita Patil."

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