Swastika Mukherjee on working with Amitabh Bachchan for the first time in Section 84: ‘When Bachchan ji spoke in his familiar baritone…’ | Bollywood News
Actor Swastika Mukherjee, who will share screen space with Amitabh Bacchan in the yet-to-be-released Bollywood courtroom drama Section 84, feels that a woman regardless of her social status has to work 200 percent harder to prove herself.
Swastika, who is also essaying the role of a police officer in the Bengali web series Nikhoj for the first time in her two-decade-long career, said that gender stereotyping existed with a belief that women after marriage and children may not be able to work as well as they did before.
“A strange gender bias exists. It is presumed a woman will be unable to deliver as they have to look after their ‘ghar sansar’ (home and families) and ‘chhele pule’ (Bengali for children). Nikhoj delineates this issue,” the actor told PTI here.
She delivered an impressive performance in Qala, which was released on Netflix in December 2022, and recently acted in a Bengali film Shibpur inspired by a real-life female gangster in Howrah in the ’70s.
In the women-centric Shibpur and Nikhoj, the central character is seen waging a fight to protect her family and her clan.
The female don, Mandira Biswas that Swastika portrays in Shibpur is protective of her in-laws and her children. In Nikhoj, the actor plays the role of a deputy commissioner of Kolkata Police trying to find her missing daughter, a case that is officially assigned to her.
Speaking about the two diametrically opposite characters portrayed by her, she said, “These two characters share shades of similarities so far as their battle in their respective workplaces are concerned… workplaces are usually ruled by men.”
Swastika said in Nikhoj she had to strive a lot to strike a balance between the persona of a mother and a hard working policewoman.
“I had to see that one identity did not overshadow the other … I was playing the character of a working single mother and I remember I used to ask director Ayan Chakraborty after every shoot whether I have been able to strike the right balance.
“It was easy to let the character of the mother get precedence over that of the investigator. But I was careful about the personality shift while enacting the police officer’s role”, she said.
Nikhoj, which also stars Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani actor Tota Roy Chowdhury, will be streamed on a leading Bengali OTT platform from August 11.
To questions about her future roles, she said, “I don’t believe in doing a large number of movies. For me, quality is more important than quantity. If I have films lined up for release every month, will you remember all of them? No. I prefer doing less work but in projects which will leave some impression in people’s minds, like Shibpur.”
Swastika’s next assignments are Durgapur Junction by Arindam Bhattacharya and a Bollywood film being shot in Mumbai. “I am contract bound not to disclose the name of the Mumbai project,” the actor said.
Swastika is, however, candid about her nervousness when she worked with megastar Amitabh Bachchan in the courtroom thriller Section 84.
“I had 5-6 scenes with him (Amitabh Bachhan) and I remember how nervous I was on the first day of my shooting with him. I had never been so nervous in my entire acting career,” the actor said.
She explained that though Bachhan took the trouble to make other actors feel “very comfortable on the sets”, his presence also made many feel nervous.
“How can I forget I am actually seeing Amitabh Bachchan before my eyes as my co-actor? I remember I rehearsed my role well but when Bachchan ji spoke in his familiar baritone in the final take after the drill … I felt completely blank … But while acting I had to ensure that this feeling of an awe-struck fan completely did not surface and I become the character,” Swastika said.
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