Kriti Sanon says doing a period drama was on her bucket list: 'My character in Panipat has an interesting graph'
In an interview to Firstpost, Kriti Sanon reveals that what attracted her to Panipat was the strong and empowering character she is portraying.
Kriti Sanon has had quite an interesting run in Bollywood since her debut five years ago.
From playing the girl-next-door (Luka Chuppi) to an ancient warrior princess (Raabta), to essaying a small town girl and a rebel in quirky love triangle (Bareilly Ki Barfi), Kriti now seems to have found her most “desired” and “honoured” role, as Parvatibai in the upcoming historical war drama, Ashutosh Gowariker directed-Panipat: The Great Betrayal.
On Panipat and period films
“A period drama was always on my bucket list. And when you get that opportunity with Ashutosh Gowariker you don’t think twice. His films are seeped in history but his characters are very contemporary,” says Kriti. In an exclusive chat, the actress had told Firstpost a few months ago: “What excited me the most was that Ashu sir had liked me in Heropanti, so you never know what side of your talent is getting noticed and by who. I was very happy that he saw me as Parvatibai even though I am a North Indian Punjabi girl. He saw the actor in me rather than the characters I had played, which gave me lot of confidence.”
What also attracted Kriti to Panipat was the strong and empowering character she is portraying. “Ashu sir cannot see his women weak. He has immense respect for them. Even in my favourite Jodha Akbar, Jodha is strong-headed, she has a voice. That sword-fighting scene between Hrithik and Aishwarya is iconic. I was very thrilled when Ashu sir told me that there was a sword fighting scene and he will make me do it. We took one day rehearsing the scene and it was pretty well choreographed. My character in Panipat has an interesting graph, from being a loving woman to being a strong constant support to her husband through all ups and downs, to being a fearless force that would go to every extent to defend her people. He has given her power, a certain stature and when you get to play this character, it makes you feel proud,” says Kriti, adding, “You have to keep reminding yourself that you are in a different era because sometimes our expressions and certain reactions can be very contemporary. I know how to behave in today’s times, or how you can possibly behave. I don’t know how they walked, behaved, spoke apart from what is written or material that we have. There is no visual reference.”
Becoming Parvatibai and balancing Housefull 4 simultaneously
Kriti worked a lot on her body language to further get into the skin of the character. “Obviously when you are in that Nauvari sari, heavy traditional jewellery, nose ring etc, your body language tends to change. When you dress as royalty you feel different. I could have never imagined myself like this. The way you walk, how your leg is turned when you stand, the way your hands gesticulate. I also realised that the kind of adab or respect, ada (style), poise and royal demeanor is attributed more to Mughals, whereas, that kind of thehrav may not be needed when you are playing a Maharastrian; a little bit of hand movement was needed. I brought in that chulbuli flavour, a bit of spunk to my character,” says Kriti.
Kriti dubbed for both, Housefull 4 and Panipat simultaneously but the transition was smooth, she says. “In Panipat I had to make sure that I was going absolutely right because there’s a lot of responsibility of playing someone who existed in history, but in Housefull 4 I could have fun because it was the historic period that we had created. Akshay Kumar could say, ‘Side please’ in that period (laughs). We had a blast in that one. There was a lot of scope to add humour and masti. Going back to Housefull was never a challenge because the madness around us was so much that you became mad with them. But coming to Panipat every time I had to brush up and revise my Marathi. I had to make sure that I am back in that world. But I am more of a spontaneous actor, I am instinctive on sets. I am not the kind who would sit in a corner preparing as you see I am dancing on 'Coca Cola' song in the vanity van in between shooting for Panipat,” says Kriti.
Kriti believes that it is her grasping power and spontaneity that helped her play two of her crucial parts well. This is in reference to when she had to switch between Housefull 4’s reincarnation spoof vibes and Panipat’s historical setting from the 18th century. “To play a Maharastrian wasn’t so challenging. I have a good grasping power and I pronounce decently well. When I started my dialect training for Panipat I wanted to make sure that whatever little bit of Marathi that I am speaking in the film has to sound like it is coming from a Maharastrian,” she says.
Mimi, Bachchan Pandey and future projects
For someone who had no plans or expectations in Bollywood, Kriti, who considers herself to be an outsider, has done pretty well in her career with four successful films so far. “It is always a combination between what you get and what you choose; and maybe I end up choosing strong and exciting parts,” she says. “Bareilly Ki Barfi changed a lot of things, a lot of perceptions and it made people take me seriously as an actor. It opened a lot of doors for me. Luka Chuppi also did very well at the box office which somewhere made me very confident to take up different kind of roles,” she further adds.
Kriti is extremely excited about her next two films that belong to two completely different genres – Mimi, her first woman-centric film in which she plays a young surrogate mother, and an out-and-out commercial Bachchan Pandey, opposite Akshay Kumar. “I have shot about 40 per cent of Mimi and it is one of the most beautiful scripts that I have read so far. It’s a very special role for me. The film is not preachy or serious, it is quite entertaining with dollops of humour in it. There is a beautiful character graph,” she says. Sometime April next, after wrapping up Mimi, Kriti will start shooting with Akshay for Bachchan Pandey. “It’s a complete entertainer and I have a very different role to play. In Bachchan Pandey, I will have far more scenes with Akshay,” she concludes.
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