The Warrior Queen Of Jhansi: Naina Sareen talks about her journey from Bokaro to Bombay

Updated: Nov 20, 2019, 15:56 IST | Mohar Basu | Mumbai

Naina Sareen who played the role of Moti Bai in The Warrior Queen Of Jhansi talks about her journey from Bokaro to Bombay, her training for the high intense film and the lack of representation for the character in history books

Naina Sareen
Naina Sareen

Naina Sareen who played the role of Moti Bai in the Hollywood project, The Warrior Queen Of Jhansi talks about her journey from Bokaro to Bombay, her training for the high intense film and the lack of representation for the character in pop culture and history books. Excerpts -

How cumbersome has been the journey from a town like Bokaro to Bombay?
I wouldn’t term the journey as cumbersome. Of course, there have been difficult times where I had to make up my mind to make a switch to acting and in the process abandon everything and take a leap of faith. But since I was going to do something that I truly desired it did not seem like a tedious task. If I have to go back I wouldn't change a single thing.

How did you land the part?
When I moved to Bombay I started doing the usual drill of auditions everywhere. That is how I got the part.

What kind of physical prep did you undergo?
We were massively trained in sword fighting, horse riding, and archery. Along with the physical transformations, we were also undergoing a lot of mental and emotional changes that we felt around each other as a team of cavalry girls who had transcended the roles of gender in historical times.

Any dialect training?
Not really! My dialogues in the film are in Hindi. But I did work on my postures and walk initially.

Because Manikarnika released earlier this year, did you have second thoughts on the film?
I did not know about Manikarnika when I had tested for the role of Moti Bai in the film.

What was your research material?
I read up extensively on Rani Laxmi Bai and her cavalry girls. There's very little material available online for the character of Moti Bai so my reference point would be my director Mrs. Swati Bhise who is also a historian. The magnitude of her knowledge is immense and that's where I would get all my notes from.

Did you feel the additional responsibility because people like Moti Bai aren’t adequately represented in pop culture or history books?
There wasn't any added responsibility so to say but of course the pleasure of playing such a part. It is a very strong character. The fact that the role is written and I get to play a part like this which is so rarely ever spoken of in popular historical texts or films is a matter of pride. This view of history is so much more hopeful than the multiple distortions of history that are presented nowadays.

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