Bhakti Rathod on Bhakharwadi: It's more difficult for a woman to look like a man

Updated: Nov 26, 2019, 08:30 IST | mid-day online correspondent | Mumbai

Bhakti Rathod talks about her show Bhakharwadi and what all challenges she faced while playing a man.

Picture Courtesy: PR
Picture Courtesy: PR

1. You are getting into the disguise of a man, to play the role of Anna's Tau. Tell us something about the upcoming track.

The story that is currently going on is that Urmila is on a mission to get Abhishek and Gayatri back together and for this, she is coming up with various ideas every now and then. As the track progresses, like always, one of Urmila's ideas is going to backfire her. To get out of the situation and change Anna's mind, Urmila and others plan to bring Anna's Tau as he is the only person that could convince Anna for anything. While everyone thinks on how to get Tau here, or what has happened to him and whether he is alive or not, Urmila, in her usual hasty manner, decides to take things into her hand and finally gets into the disguise of Tau.

2. How difficult or easy is it to get into the costume of a man?

It actually depends on what kind of character you are taking up. It is as difficult for females to get into the costume of a male as it is for men to get into the costume of a female. Men need to add certain curves to look like a female and women need to hide certain curves to look like a man. To add curves is easier than hiding them and in addition to this, the stature is extremely different for men and women. So, it's more difficult for a woman to look like a man, convincingly.

With the character of Tau, there is an add-on difficulty of bringing that authenticity in. Since he is Anna's idol, he is supposed to be more impactful than him. Anna in himself is a really strong personality and thus it becomes important that Tau's posture is very authoritative and firm.

Bhakti Rathod

3. How was the process of attaining Tau's look? What were the challenges?

Since we are going back in time with Tau's character, we had to work very seriously on his look and mannerisms. We had certain references, did a lot of brainstorming and we worked two straight days out of which, one day, I worked for 11 hours 30 minutes at a stretch to get the look perfect. We tried numerous looks, trying to match the era and the creative teams of the production and Sony SAB have spent sleepless nights trying to get the look perfect and to bring in that authenticity.

The second challenging factor was age. We did not want to go into prosthetics for the old-age makeup. The senior-most make-up artist we have on the set had previously seen me do an old-age make-up on myself and he requested me to do that for this role too. So, I did my entire make-up for this look myself and the final look that we got was so satisfying for everyone involved in this process. It usually takes me 2 or more hours to get into the look of Tau. We even decided to get a Bandi at the last moment and the tailor-made it on the spot while I switched to Urmila's make-up and then back to Tau's look. That day we shot till 11:30 PM and yet everyone was on the set at 7 AM the next day. Everyone was really committed to getting this look perfect.

4. Did you do any specific preparation for this role of Tau?

I have always loved Anna's character. I even secretly watch Deven bhai performing as he has got amazing schooling just like all the actors associated with Hatsoff productions get. I look up to him as my senior artist and he has done some amazing works as an actor, director and sometimes even sketching the characters himself. So, I always make it a point to learn from him whenever I can and that's what I did for the character of Tau as well. There are times when I sit with him and understand certain Marathi words or how to pick some nuances for some characters. I also watched some specific episodes just to observe the character of Anna and his dialect, to bring that into Tau's character. I didn't want to imposter Anna as he is an independent character. Since I had to develop the character of Tau by myself, I did a lot of preparations and thankfully everyone including our creative director, writer Aatish Bhai and the entire team has been really trusting towards me for building this character.

5. Since it is a Marathi role, how did you work on your dialect for the same?

Since the very beginning, I have been very keen on learning languages. Since I have been living in Maharashtra, I have made it a point that I should know Marathi. I am also a backpacker and I go to a lot of local places also so I have a knack of the language. I am married to a Maharashtrian and hence the culture and its authenticity come naturally to me. So, working on the dialect wasn't that difficult for me.

6. How has the experience been shooting with the entire cast of Bhakharwadi for so long?

Hatsoff production has this one unique specialty that they create a family culture on the sets of every show. You actually start feeling at home and everyone gives so much warmth that any kind of artist will fit in easily in this family. This has been really nice schooling for me and I will take this with me wherever I go, to create a family-like atmosphere. We all also play a lot of pranks on each other and everyone takes fun in it. Also, the entire team is very cooperative. I have never felt insecure or never felt that constant competition from my co-actors. Everyone is constantly trying to make the other's work better, by suggesting them of different tactics for their scenes.

I am blessed to be a part of the Bhakharwadi family. The way Urmila's character has worked out is just amazing. The journey so far has been amazing, every scene I get has been a challenge and I am enjoying it. Also, the trust of the writers, director, and other co-actors strives you to do better every time. I have been blessed especially to have a co-actor like Paresh Bhai (Ganatra). I have never seen this great a co-actor in my life and I don't think I will ever get to see someone like him in the future. He is such an amazing friend as well as a colleague and I don't think anyone can ever match him. Akshay and Akshita are young but have tremendous potential, something which is reflected in every scene they shoot.

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