As she makes her OTT debut with Gulmohar, Sharmila Tagore on identifying with her spirited character, and her family’s reaction to the movie
Sharmila Tagore and Sara Ali Khan
There is always something new to try your hand at, even after 60 years in the acting business. Sharmila Tagore will vouch for it. The veteran actor, who was last seen on screen in Break Ke Baad (2010), is making her OTT debut this week with Gulmohar. From shooting in the ’60s without vanity vans, to headlining an OTT project in the present day, Tagore has witnessed a sea change in showbiz. “I remember there were no vanity vans until Amitabh [Bachchan] got the first one. Now, it has become so much more comfortable to work in films, and OTT is even more organised. Everybody is punctual. While shooting for Gulmohar, everything was spot-on — from the first shot, to the outfits, to the time you pack up,” she marvels.
Gulmohar sees Tagore as the Batra family’s matriarch, with Manoj Bajpayee playing her son, and Suraj Sharma, her grandson. In Rahul Chittella’s directorial venture, she got not only a powerful script, but also a spirited character. “Kusum is independent, has clarity of vision, and is a senior who leaves the door open for the younger people to reach out to her. While she loves her family, she is clear about what she wants to do, and has no guilt [about pursuing it],” says the actor, admitting that she shares many similarities with her on-screen persona. She praises Chittella for making a film that goes beyond a family drama.
Bajpayee plays Tagore’s son
“It is a story of three generations, and our [different] points of view. Every character is well-rounded. It’s up to the viewer to get the [subtext] as each line says something. I have seen it three times, and found it faultless. I am openly asking my friends to come and watch it,” she laughs.
So, has her family watched it? “Saif [Ali Khan] is yet to watch it as he is shooting in Amritsar. Kareena [Kapoor Khan] saw it last night. Soha, Saba and Sara have loved it. The movie speaks to different generations — from Sara’s to mine.”
Going forward, the actor, 78, is aware that she might not get scripts as brilliant as Gulmohar. Tell her it’s not easy to get her nod for a project, and she says it’s imperative to be selective. “[I am so] because at this stage, I don’t want to do anything I might regret later. When you are young, you make many mistakes, but you have time to make up for them. But when you reach a certain age, you cannot be foolish in your choices because there are expectations and goodwill [attached to you]. Unless you are sure about the character, there is no point in doing a project.”