Aditi Rao Hydari on Padmaavat, working with Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Rekha's compliments

Abhishek Srivastava

Feb,02 2018 13:10:08 IST

The repertoire of Aditi Rao Hydari is punctuated with numerous films which showcase her histrionics in ‘small but powerful’ roles. Her current release Padmaavat is no exception. However, one reason why the ‘small but powerful’ role of Mehrunissa stands apart, is also because it takes forward the legacy of how female characters are portrayed in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's films; women who are strong, powerful and hold their own. Now that the film is finally in theatres, Aditi is a relieved woman. The past few months were akin to house arrest for the cast of the film because of the ‘much ado about nothing’ controversy. “When there is honesty, then somewhere there is a good feeling about things. The whole world can bring you down but somehow I feel that the strength of love and positivity always overpowers anything negative. I can say with conviction that this thing was very much with the film. The support we got from media to fans was so amazing and that at the end of the day, it gives you ample strength to overcome any kind of difficulty,” says a pleased Aditi.

Aditi Rao Hydari. Image via Twitter

(L) Aditi Rao Hydari as Mehrunissa in Padmaavat; (R) the actress during a shoot. Image via Twitter

Aditi believes that it was the work on the sets of Padmaavat, which really helped the entire unit sail through the seemingly never-ending tumultuous phase. She believes that the world that Sanjay Leela Bhansali creates on his sets is so magical, real and honest that once the actors are transported into that world, they forget everything. While Aditi has been praised for her performance by critics and audiences alike, the role of Mehrunissa is also something that defines a typical SLB film. Aditi shines in a role which brings out Mehrunissa’s stoic, strong persona of an ignored wife, who is still able to hold her own against a brute of a husband played by Ranveer Singh. Did SLB give her any instruction before the shooting of the film? “I still remember the day when I went to meet Sanjay sir, he informed me that the role of Mehrunissa is a special one and everybody who has read the script had asked him that who is playing Mehru. Now when the film is finally in theatres, I understand what he actually meant. I really feel blessed because it was Jaya Bachchan who spoke to Sanjay Sir about me and it was she who suggested him that I should play this part. Though I never really had any kind of help or support, I always feel that there are guardian angels who look after me.”

Aditi admits that the research for her character came entirely from SLB and she did nothing on her own. According to her, the research for the character was imbibed from the environment of the film. “I am not a trained actor and I cannot do researches on my own. Once the camera turns on, it’s all about feelings. It’s all about being in that moment and believing in that moment. I don’t have the wherewithal to do research on my own. The only thing that I know is to trust my director and completely believe in his vision and the world that he has created. I cannot research feelings.” The effect of the ‘feeling’ that she has brought into her character were visible when Rekha herself called to congratulate her. So what did she tell? “I feel these things are very personal and it was like the biggest reward or award or whatever it is. She called me and basically she said Dil Se Dua that you stay as pure as you are with your talent, which shows in your eyes. I am not going to elaborate any more than this. It means a lot coming from her.”

One thing that is evident is the fact that Aditi despite being part of many A-list films, has until now been relegated to minor roles. So how about acting in films which she can carry on her own shoulder? The question is met with a strict denial with mention of films like London Paris New York , Murder 3 and Bhoomi which had her in the lead role “The thing is that I mix it up. I have done Murder 3 and Bhoomi and then a Fitoor and now Padmaavat. I respond instinctively to scripts and directors. I always feel that if Jennifer Lawrence or Natalie Portman can do just two scenes in a film only because the director is great, then why can’t I do the same? It’s better that I stand up to the choices that I want to make hoping that one day people will stop using such terms,” reasons Aditi.

The actress does admit that failure of her films at the box office does bother her as acting necessitates putting one’s heart and soul for a considerable period of time. Sanjay Dutt’s comeback film Bhoomi, which had her in the lead, was met with a lukewarm response. “Sometimes the films deserve not to work only because they’re not good. I can be very honest about my films and say that it did not work. Honestly the entire unit is responsible for a film’s success or failure. Yes, it upsets me and I only wish it had worked.”

Aditi also believes that Bollywood should also have #MeToo reckoning. She is of the opinion that it should and will eventually happen. “Yes, it should happen with the purpose of change and not for mudslinging. The main problem is that we all are afraid and look the other way to make sure that our career goes smoothly but we should make it sure for our future and for other girls. The purpose is only to ensure that there is strength and equality in the system so that we can all work towards making great cinema and not indulge in work related barters that are dependent upon misuse of power. It’s all about empowering and bringing about change which should be dealt with dignity.” For an actor who does not consider language, country or geography as barrier in presenting her art and believes only in the challenges put forward by her directors, Padmaavat might just see a resurgence of Aditi Rao Hydari in a different avatar in the future.

Updated Date: Feb 02, 2018 13:10 PM