Actress Sanjana Sanghi hails from New Delhi and she plays a Bengali girl in the upcoming Sushant Singh Rajput-starrer "Dil Bechara". Getting into the skin of her Bengali protagonist Kizie Basu, she says, initially seemed like a "tough demand".
Sanjana recalls director Mukesh Chhabra telling her: "I need you to speak, understand, and participate in Bengali culture, like a Bengali would."
She added: "(I felt) frustrated with him initially as to how he can place such a tough demand on me."
The debutante attended workshops and trained at National School of Drama for a couple of months, seven hours a day. She also took basic diction lessons in Bengali.
Then there were acting workshops with Chhabra and advanced diction training with Sushmita Sur, an NSD graduate and actor.
Sanjana said: "Finally at the end of those six to seven months of rigorous prep work every single day, I'd reached a point where I could comfortably converse and improvise scenes in Bengali with (co-actors) Swastika (Mukherjee) and Shashwata (Chatterjee) da, who play my parents in the film and are veteran Bengali actors themselves. They didn't know I was from North India and I remember Swastika telling Mukesh, ï¿½Good you picked a Bengali girl to play Kizie. It would have been tough to get that touch otherwise'.
"That was the biggest compliment I could possibly get at the time," Sanjana said.
She added: "Being from New Delhi, and growing up here all my life, stepping into Kizie's Bengali shoes was something I was keen on doing most justice to."
Sanjana shared that she understood why it was important to learn the language.
"When we got onto set finally -- I understood why truly learning the language was so crucial. I never felt lost. I always understood what my (screen) parents were discussing in Bengali. I could add to the beats. I could decide for myself what's right and what's not -- it was so challenging to achieve, but it finally helped me feel empowered," she said.