Mumbai, Jun 29 (PTI) There were some people who asked Ila Arun why she took up a small part in 'Sherni', headlined by Vidya Balan. But the veteran Rajasthani folk singer-actor says the length of a role is immaterial to her in an important film, like the recently-released satirical thriller on conservation.
The movie revolves around Balan's Vidya Vincent, an upright forest officer who is tasked to resolve the man-animal conflict.
Written by Aastha Tiku, 'Sherni' has garnered praise for its nuanced narrative set around the challenges faced by Vidya in her professional and personal life.
The 67-year-old, best known for songs like 'Choli Ke Peeche', 'Morni Baaga Ma Bole', and 'Ringa Ringa', said she was happy to be director Amit Masurkar's first choice to play the character of Vidya's mother-in-law.
“He (Amit) told me ‘I want you’ and that he has faith in me. I have a small role to play but the way the director thought and imagined this character is great. He wanted that effect, sensitiveness. And I tried to keep the director’s faith intact by doing what was required of me,” Arun told PTI in a Zoom interview.
'There were some who did tell me why I did such a small role... But as an artiste I am very greedy for good work,' she added.
Arun said she is happy with the way the film has been received by the audience and critics.
'Looking at the reaction, I am proud it has been successful and has made an impact. Everybody is looking real and that’s the biggest achievement. To be part of ‘Sherni’ is a feather in my cap because there are a lot of people complementing the film and me.' Her character -- a woman who is proud of Vidya's professional achievements but expects her to be a 'dutiful' daughter-in-law in her personal life -- drives home an important point about patriarchy, an important theme in the movie.
“My role has been kept here to show that this officer (Balan) can have many pressures like personal and family to forest and political pressures, like (from family standpoint) the daughter-in-law is expected to be a certain way.” Though there are many layers in the film, Arun said, 'Sherni' is a film made 'straight from the heart'.
“This is a very important film and to be part of it in a very small way is a great achievement. This film is handled sensitively by the writer and director, especially the nexus of politicians, officers or poachers, local people,” she said.
The actor, whose film credits include “Mandi”, “Welcome To Sajjanpur”, “Jodhaa Akbar”, and “Raat Akeli Hai”, said for her it has always been about staying true to the character she plays on screen.
“My journey has been special, be it in parallel or meaningful or in any other cinema. I always respected the character that has been given to me. It was clear that I was not (going to be) the heroine of the films I act in. Length has never been my issue. For me, it is about how effectively and honestly I can play my characters.” Also starring Sharat Saxena, Neeraj Kabi, Vijay Raaz, Brijendra Kala and Mukul Chadda, “Sherni” is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video. PTI KKP RDS RDS BK BK