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'Everybody should see Naa Bangaru Talli'

May 04, 2014 16:00 IST

'Everybody should see Naa Bangaru Talli'

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Radhika Rajamani/Rediff.com in Hyderabad

'I have to get the Best Actress Award and I still have a long way to go.'

Meet National award-winning actress Anjali Patil.

Anjali Patil has acted in Delhi In A Day, Chakravyuh and the Sinhalese film Oba Nathuwa Obba Ekka (With You, Without You).

The talented actress also starred in the bilingual film on human trafficking based on a true story and titled Naa Bangaru Talli in Telugu and Ente in Malayalam. It was directed by Rajesh Touchriver and produced by Dr Sunitha Krishnan, who runs the anti-trafficking organisation Prajwala.

The film won a Special Mention by the jury at the National Awards this year.

In this telephone interview with Radhika Rajamani, Anjali tells us more about Naa Bangaru Talli.

Congratulations, how does it feel to get a National Award?

I am just trying to be at peace and not get overwhelmed.

It gives me a positive energy. I am trying to use this positive energy and not get scared.

Are you scared that you have to keep up this level of performance?

It sort of gives you the responsibility to be a good actor. One has to match up to a standard.

Everything is checked. Even your choice of films. If one does a commercial film, many may ask, why is she doing it?

I want to be a star as well. I need to be a big performer.  It’s a good experience but limits your options.

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Image: Anjali Patil and Siddique in Naa Bangaru Talli

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'Naa Bangaru Talli was based on a true story'

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Was it the sensitive subject and the scope it gave you to perform that made you sign Naa Bangaru Talli?

More than the subject, the script was the basis. It was based on a true story and gripping too.

The character had a lot of shades. To perform it was a challenge and also in languages I do not speak. I took it as a challenge.

Did you do any research on human trafficking for the role?

Yes, I did some homework. Sunitha (Krishnan) helped me. She told me stories and there was some research material that I read. Sunitha has first-hand experience of rescuing girls, so it helped.

Were you inspired by Dr Sunitha Krishnan and her efforts to rescue and rehabilitate girls?

I was amazed by her work and efforts. It is mind blowing. Despite attempts on her life, she still persists.

Were you aware of director Rajesh Touchriver and his work?

Frankly, I saw his profile only later. I feel the script is the best introduction to the director. The present work is important.


Image: Anjali Patil in Naa Bangaru Talli

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'I used to cry back in the hotel as I couldn't understand what the others were saying'

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This film is a bi-lingual, in Telugu and Malayalam. How did you cope with the languages?

Initially, at night, I used to cry back in the hotel. I couldn’t understand what the others were saying and it was limiting as an actor.

I wrote the dialogues in Devanagari and English and used to carry two notebooks.

I never mugged up the dialogues but worked on them. In fact, I was not able to speak English as Malayalam and Telugu were in my head.

Was getting into the character tough?  

The stunts and the violent abusing scenes were exhausting. Due to a technical glitch, one dragging scene had to be re-done and my shoulder joints pained a lot. I had bruises from doing stunts.

I could not call my family, could not eat. I was still in the character and overwhelmed by the situation.

I would think, what would have happened to the real girl? I cannot switch on and off between character and actor easily.

Siddique (who played her father in the film), an experienced actor, could switch on and off. I would not talk, smile or laugh. I would sit in a corner. He would ask me if I was okay.

That was the difference because of experience. When I came back to Mumbai, I was cautious. I am normally a happy, smiling girl. I used to get agitated. 


Image: Anjali Patil and Siddique in Naa Bangaru Talli

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'The Chief Minister said after years he had seen a film that shook him'

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How did it feel after doing Naa Bangaru Talli?

I saw it in Kerala at a special screening for the Chief Minister. My mother was also with me, and people were teary-eyed or crying.

The Chief Minister said after years he had seen a film that shook him.

When I saw myself on screen, I was surprised I had done something like this. Everybody should see the film.

It is sad that the Telugu film has not got a theatrical release…

Yes, if the National Awards could do something to help it, I would be happy.

The film has been acknowledged at the international level though…

It is creating history. People should come forward and support it. Like director Kiran Rao (wife of actor Aamir Khan) presented Ship of Theseus.

Was the National Award the icing on the cake?

Not really. I feel I have to get the Best Actress Award and I still have a long way to go.

That they thought of me is a big honour for a film like this!


Image: Anjali Patil and Siddique in Naa Bangaru Talli

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'I have learnt Kathak and now I am into salsa, waltz and contemporary'

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You have been doing films in different languages -- Hindi, Telugu, Malayalam, Sinhala and so on. What makes you explore cinema in many languages?

It is said that there is no need of language to communicate emotions as emotions are universal. However, subtle differences are there.

Different regions give you different stories.

The Sri Lankan script was amazing. It was a love story of a Sri Lankan ex-army man and a Tamil minority girl!

Would you like to do glamorous roles?

Yes, I would like to do something that would surprise everybody.

I am a dancer. I am learning music. I want to challenge myself. I want to do some dance numbers.

What dances have you learnt?

I have learnt Kathak. Now I am into salsa, waltz and contemporary. I am learning dhrupad under the Gundecha Brothers.

Whenever I get some free time, I run to Bhopal to learn under my gurus. I do riyaaz every day. It is a sort of meditation.

What are your future projects?

I am doing two Hindi films -- one is titled Hum Zameen and the other is untitled.


Image: Anjali Patil and Siddique in Naa Bangaru Talli

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