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Lara Dutta: Didn’t have options as little as 10 year ago

Updated on: 06 January,2022 07:18 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Uma Ramasubramanian |

Ahead of her third web outing, a family drama starring Naseeruddin Shah, Lara on playing age-appropriate roles distanced from “typical brooding wife or helpless mother”

Lara Dutta: Didn’t have options as little as 10 year ago

Lara Dutta. Pic/Instagram

Appropriately highlighting how actors of her age were relegated to the fringes in cinema, Lara Dutta counts her stars to be a working actor in this day and age. “OTT platforms have liberated an actor like me, who is turning 40. Less than 10 years ago, female actors didn’t have the opportunities that we do today. The writing is more layered,” says the actor, pointing to how filmmakers are exploring age-appropriate roles for women in cinema.

“The segment of viewers between the ages of 35 and 50 were rarely addressed. There was little relatable content for them to watch. [A woman was either shown as] the 60-plus mother, or the hero’s wife. [The heroes] could get away with infidelity, but the women couldn’t do anything. That has changed. Women between 35 and  55 are finding more characters that they can relate to.”

Naseeruddin Shah
Naseeruddin Shah

In her third web outing, the Naseeruddin Shah starrer Kaun Banegi Shikharwati, a Zee5 family drama that touches upon dispute, Dutta plays the role of a royal, Rajkumari Devyani. She says it was Shah’s association with the project that lured her. “We’ve heard stories of Naseer saab ‘not having patience anymore’, or expecting co-stars to learn the lines correctly. But, working with him was an incredible opportunity. The man is a genius. The pauses he takes, the presence he has in scenes are such that his co-actors can forget their lines. When I’d watch him with my mouth wide open, he’d say, ‘Young lady, it is your line’. That’s the effect he has on you.” Her solo scene with Shah, she says, will remain a career highlight. “For me, to [have] matched him in the scene is something I am proud of.”

Eccentric as the script is, Dutta says the unit had a delightful time filming the dramedy. “I have never done anything related to a dystopian world. A lot of royal families exist today. They live cosmopolitan lives, but when they return to their principalities, they become different [people] — wearing ghoonghats and being addressed as ‘baisa’. I know a lot of royals who live ordinary lives.  You only learn of their [status] when you spend time with them in their principalities. To step into that world was a treat.”

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