Shweta on interacting with Kamathipura’s sex workers for her role in India Lockdown
Shweta Basu Prasad in the film
If Shweta Basu Prasad had her way, she would have teamed up with Madhur Bhandarkar in 2005. But destiny had other plans. Almost 17 years on, the actor-director duo have collaborated on India Lockdown. “He had approached me for Traffic Signal after watching Iqbal . At the time, studies were [my priority], and my parents had put a hard stop to acting. After years, when he approached me for India Lockdown, I fell in love with the subject,” says the actor.
In his latest release, Bhandarkar examines the March 2020 lockdown through the lens of the marginalised sections of society. Prasad plays a sex worker in the ZEE5 offering that also stars Aahana Kumra and Prateik Babbar. To understand her part better, the actor went to Kamathipura.
“Mehrunissa [her character] is bright and has a never-say-die attitude. My main focus was on building the person. The story was already well-researched. I met a few sex workers, observed their mannerisms, body language, and make-up. That helped me build a structure for my role.”
Bhandarkar may gravitate towards intense subjects, but Prasad says one “must not fall for his reputation as a serious filmmaker”. “He has childlike energy and a great sense of humour. In between shots, we’d [chat about] movies.”