Soni Razdan on playing Alia's mother in Raazi: She never took advice from me about acting, that she left to the director
Soni Razdan, who has worked in films like 36 Chowringhee Lane, Khamosh, Mandi, Saaransh, Monsoon Wedding and Page 3, is for the first time playing her real daughter’s reel mother in the recently released espionage spy thriller Raazi. This also marks her return to the big screen after a long hiatus. And even though her part has gotten trimmed in the final cut, Razdan is fine because “the project is bigger than the role”. “The mother’s role was initially quite good but at times it happens that you edit and then a lot of things do get cut. So the way it is now is not the way it was in the script. It’s a small part but I couldn’t let it go for emotional reasons. There are two things, playing Alia’s mom for the first time and in a project that is quite significant,” said Razdan. “I am always happy to act but there are very few roles written for people in my age group. There are not many people also able to fill that slot,” she added.
With Alia being a prolific actor and a huge name in Bollywood, did Razdan (who underwent formal education in theatre and was quite ambitious about her acting career) always want to share screen space with her? “Alia and I did not give too much thought about doing a film together. When it happens it is great. I knew that there was a film that she was in talks about with Meghna and she was very excited about it but I didn’t know anything more than that. She takes her work quite seriously and we have to pester her to get things out of her,” said Razdan, who however feels that she herself didn’t get the success that she deserved. “Though when I started I worked in some good films, but in those days the difference between commercial cinema and art-house cinema was pretty distinct. I neither looked as glamorous as a commercial heroine nor like a conventional village girl of an art-house film. Also people were not ready to experiment as they do it today,” added Razdan, who was born to a German mother and a Kashmiri father.
Alia's stardom has certainly brought a tremendous change in their lives, says Razdan. Reminiscing about the days when her daughter decided to become an actor, Razdan said there was a complete shift in the Bhatt household. “From having a normal household where you make dal, sabzi, roti and chawal, suddenly I had to start running a diet kitchen. All the time we were running a parallel system and Alia was grateful that I was able to pull it off. Now it has become a system in her own house as she lives independently. But we have learnt about nutrition from each other,” said the mother, who was earlier quite worried about the pressures of stardom on her daughter.
“From being just a kid she grew very fast, she had to deal with lot of things that young girls don’t have to at her age. That enormous level of responsibility that comes with this position… Even if you have not reached the pinnacle of success, there is a lot riding on the movie. Unfortunately, because she belongs to a film family you have to be either very intelligent or brilliant at your craft. It must have been really suffocating for her. We prove ourselves to ourselves as we go along but she already had this pressure even before she had started. Too much expectation is not fair and then you are part of a Friday to Friday business,” said Razdan.
“It is very tiring to look great all the time. You are exhausted, you might be ill but nobody is supposed to know that. Then you have to keep your weight down. The pressure is with you 24 hours. It is dependent on a lot of externals which is again a very horrible thing because you may be a great actress but 50 percent of that is how you look, how you behave, what you are wearing, how you are talking. Say in a Kapil Sharma show, are you witty, funny, did you make a mistake? There are always things hanging over you and then on top of it you get on to the set, forget who you are, become someone else and give a decent performance. It is tough when you are young. You have to have your head on your shoulders to deal with all this or else you can become a little neurotic,” added Razdan.
Initially, Razdan said, Alia would come to her for advice, “But it wasn’t about acting, that she left to her director. It was only the externals that she would discuss. And she goes to her dad (Mahesh Bhatt) for bigger questions in life – ‘What do I say on this particular forum?’ ‘How do I handle the press or how do I react when they ask a political question?’ Maybe she asks him for direction in acting as well. How would he look at it as a director because he always has something very simple and yet something profound to give her as tip,” she says.
Razdan, who was directed by her husband Mahesh Bhatt in Saraansh, will probably share the screen with him for the first time in her upcoming film, Yours Truly. “It seems to be a good time in cinema because in last two years I have done lot of work. Even when I was younger I didn’t get the kind of work that I wanted and then I got married. Those times were very different. I was also a fish out of water, so I went into television and did Buniyaad and finally produced my own serial. In terms of films, it was difficult to cast me and I don’t blame the directors because I didn’t fit into any slot. Now maybe I will have a better run,” she concluded.
Updated Date: May 14, 2018 09:21 AM