She is known for her bold image in Marathi cinema but when it comes to Bollywood, Sai Tamhankar is experimenting with the content and roles. In her first international project Love Sonia, Sai will be seen in a completely different avatar. The film directed by Tabrez Noorani highlights human trafficking and the global sex trade network. It follows the story of a young girl whose life goes for a toss when she gets caught in the net of the flesh trade.
In fact, the film recently premiered at Europe’s largest South Asian film festival, The Bagri London Indian Film Festival 2018. The entire cast and crew including Mrunal Thakur, Richa Chadha, Manoj Bajpayee, Rajkummar Rao, producer David Womark, executive producer Pravesh Sahni and sound mixer Resul Pookutty were present at the festival. Sharing her experience, Sai says, “It was fantastic and something every actor should experience. It was nice to see how people approach work as you get to learn from so many different people.”
The Hunterrr actress says that she is playing a courier girl in the film. “She abducts girls from the villages and sells them to Manoj’s character in a brothel in Mumbai,” says Sai, though she refuses to call Anjali (her character) negative.
“No one is really negative in this film because we all are victims at some point in time. It’s just up to the person and what the situations make you do. I think Anjali acts or reacts according to circumstances in her life,” she explains.
Sai says that working in the film was a draining experience for her. “One cannot imagine the intensity of what one human can do to another human. It’s simply unbelievable. We are suppose to be the most developed version of our species as we have a conscience, and we have values. To see all this vanish into the thin air because of some amount of money or whatever reason, is very disturbing,” she says, adding, “We had created a set of a brothel and it used to give us goosebumps going there. We could not be there for more than an hour.”
Love Sonia not only stars Bollywood actors, but also features international cast like Demi Moore, Frieda Pinto and others. Even the crew included international names and Sai says that while working with them, she followed a strict regime of working hours. “Everything would be proper and we used to get call sheets with detailed mention of timings. Like, at 9 am we had to be on the set, at 9.30 am we would have breakfast, at 9.40 am, we would have to sit for makeup, and so on. We followed the schedule strictly. This was refreshing and exciting,” says the actress who has worked in hit Marathi films like Sanai Chaughade, Duniyadari, Tu Hi Re, Classmates and Vajandar.
And how was the experience of working with such diverse star cast? “I had mostly worked with Manoj sir, Richa and Frieda. It’s always nice to work when you have such vibrant and different energies. I will definitely cherish the moments,” she says.
Sai has mostly concentrated on Marathi films and once in a while worked in Bollywood. She says she wants to make certain that she’s not type-cast. “I would like to be known as an actor who can be moulded in any role,” says the actress whose last Marathi project Rakshas, got mixed reaction at the box-office. But Sai isn’t disappointed. “You make a film because it has appealed to you. We don’t decide the fate of the film, and for that I rely on my luck. We attempted a genre (mystery thriller) which was new to Marathi or other regional film industry. I am glad that my director Dnyanesh Zoting dared to get someone on board to do the film without thinking how this project will be received by the audience. And I was part of the film. Rakshas has opened doors for all new genres to enter regional cinema,” says the actress whose next Marathi project will release later this year.