Marathi film industry’s two talented actresses — Priya Bapat and Mukta Barve — are coming back on screen with Pratima Joshi’s Aamhi Doghi. The film releasing on February 23, also stars Bhushan Pradhan, Kiran Karmarkar, Aarti Wadagbalkar and Prasad Barve. An adaptation of Gauri Deshpande’s book, it highlights the friendship between two very unusual women.
Priya says that the story is inspired by lot of different stories by Deshpande. “Pratima had put down stories. So, there are a lot of things which are influenced from those and Deshpande’s letters,” says Mukta who has gone completely deglam in the film. She says that she has no inhibitions in playing the character. “In fact that was the best part about her; she is very unique and different from all the characters I have played in the past.
As far as playing a deglam or rural character, it doesn’t matter. Aamla has a certain calmness about her which is very engaging. When I heard the script, I realised the audience can feel her presence even in the scenes she is not part of,” says Mukta.
She adds that Pratima’s approach towards the character was such that she wanted an actress who could make her presence felt even if she is not part of a particular scene. “If my director feels that about me, it’s quite encouraging.”
The film is produced by Sanjay and Puja Chhabria. As for Priya, she says that one will find parts of Savi (her character in the film) in every woman. “This story was written in 1973 almost 40 years ago and the character was so much ahead of its time. But people will connect with her even today. She is practical, outspoken, opinionated and a grey character which makes her human,” she says, adding, “Usually protagonists are presented in such a clichéd and idealistic manner, just the way society wants to see them but human beings are never like that. Each one of us have some kind of negativity within us.”
Both the actresses share that they did not read Deshpande’s original piece before signing the film. Ask them if it helps as actors because you have no pre-conceived notions about the characters. “For an actor it’s more important to follow what a director wants. If my director has read something and wants to portray the characters in a certain manner, we have to follow what she has written in the script,” says Priya, to which Mukta adds, “And it’s her perception about her story that matters.”
The makers are promoting Aamhi Doghi as a feminist film but the trailer comes across as a coming-of-age, buddy film. “We were discussing about this and to be honest, feminism is such a big word. We don’t call Aamhi Doghi a feminist film and it does not promote feminism,” says Priya, to which Mukta adds, “Maybe because the writer is a woman and so it’s been called a feminist film. If our director would have been a male, they wouldn’t have tagged it like this.”
Mukta says that while promoting the film, the actors have been saying that ‘this is not a women-oriented film’. “In fact it’s a film about different stories and relationships. It’s wrong to tag films and categorise them. Honestly, I don’t know what feminism is. It’s become such a mundane word. It must be a different concept but we don’t know what we are talking about. We just picked up the word and keep talking about it,” says Mukta, to which Priya adds, “I think the word feminism has become accessible so people use it anywhere and everywhere.”