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Looking beyond `Page 3'

She's an actress alright. But what next on Konkana Sen's agenda? She would love to make small, intimate films

Konkona Sen: Looking beyond `Page 3'

KONKONA SEN SHARMA flits through the International Film Festival of India like an exotic butterfly. Dressed in breezy block printed cotton tops and trousers with her delegate pass wound around her wrist like a rocking azure style accessory, Konkona looks like one of the many film school students floating about the place. While she is definitely a film buff, catching as many films as she can, (Motorcycle Diaries, Beautiful Boxer, Haazaron Khwaishein Aisi) she also happens to have won the National Award for her portrayal of Meenakshi Iyer in her mother, Aparna Sen's, sensitive portrayal of love in the time of communal riots, Mr and Mrs Iyer.

In Goa for Manu Rewal's Chai Pani Etc where she plays a double role, pinning Konkona down for a chat proved quite a task. When told of the desperate measures to track her down, she wails, "Why, what have I done?" Nothing much Ms Sen Sharma apart from being one of the most promising young actresses on the art house circuit!

Konkona starts shooting for Mira Nair's adaptation of the Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake, in February. Then there is Madhur Bhandarkar's Page 3, Shonali Bose's Amu and Amavas directed by Sidharth Srinivasan. "I am very, very excited about shooting Mira's film. I am a big fan of Mira's movies," says Konkona who plays Ashima, a Bengali housewife. The film follows the character's growth from her teens to her Forties.

In Amu Konkona plays "an NRI who knows she is adopted. She comes to India to find out about her birth parents and discovers a connection with the 1984 riots." Konkona describes Amavas as "a horror film. I play one of two girls staying in a flat and the movie takes place over one night." Visibly excited over Chai Pani Etc, Konkona says she "grabbed the role because it was a chance to do a double role. There are hardly any double roles in films these days. Here I play a good girl and a bad girl. We had rehearsals and with Manu I worked out different looks and mannerisms for the two characters." While Konkona did intensive preparation for role as the orthodox Meenakshi including going to Mylapore, her role as journalist for Page 3 did not call for much preparation. "I needed to research Meenakshi as she is a character far removed from me. My character in Page 3 is very normal, just like you and me so it was not difficult to flesh her out."

Konkona admits to being interested in direction but "that is eventually... many, many years later. The kind of movie I would like to make? Hmm that is like soooo hypothetical but let's see - I guess I would like to make a small, intimate film." Konkona, with her curly hair straightened out and a smudge of kohl on her expressive eyes insists she is equally comfortable in "saris and jeans and my favourite perfume at the moment is one I just bought - Escada Sentiment."

Given the nickname Koko "by Shabana Azmi when I was nine years old," Konkona says she has three criteria for choosing scripts. "I should enjoy reading them, I should not get bored and I should have a good rapport with the director." One can only hope that many interesting scripts come Konkona's way so we have the joy of watching this pint-size powerhouse dazzle us with her histrionics.


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