Dealing with female toxicity in 'Posham Pa'

How Mahie Gill, Sayani Gupta and Ragini Khanna geared up for some extreme female toxicity in the psychological thriller

While shooting for the film, Posham Pa, Mahie Gill couldn’t stop thinking of her daughter Veronica, who will turn three later this month. On any other film set, this wouldn’t seem odd, but in this ZEE5 original, Gill plays a serial killer who drives her two daughters into a life of crime and violence. “There is a lot of pent up rage in her, which probably comes from something that happened in her childhood. Her daughters grow up seeing violence as a daily occurrence and it becomes normal for them. It made me think about the ideas of nurture and nature. I am a very chilled-out parent, but this film has made me think that I need to be extra cautious around my daughter,” she says.

Directed by National Award-winning filmmaker Suman Mukhopadhyay, Posham Pa is a psychological thriller inspired by true events. Actors Sayani Gupta and Ragini Khanna play the daughters of Gill’s character. The film also stars Shivani Raghuvanshi and Imaad Shah as two documentarians chronicling their lives and crimes while the three women are on death row.

Dealing with female toxicity in 'Posham Pa'

Keeping it real

What caught Mukhopadhyay’s attention when the script, by Nimisha Misra, came his way (it is his first feature for a digital platform) “was its objective look at criminals on death row. I thought it would be an interesting challenge to honestly explore their complex minds. I was very conscious that I wanted to keep the story and the characters believable. Also, while there is violence in the content, I didn’t want the film to be too graphic”.

Meanwhile, Gupta, who was shooting for the second season of two hit digital shows — Four More Shots Please! and Inside Edge — was so keen on being a part of the film that she did some serious time management to fit it into her schedule. “There was one day when I shot for Four More... in the morning, Posham Pa in the afternoon and then went back to Four More...,” she says. What made this film a must-do for her was the ‘look’ Mukhopadhyay had envisioned for her character, which required four hours of prosthetics. “I like to work with looks because so much about one’s performance is also about getting the costume right.”

In their skin

Shooting a film about multiple serial killers can never be easy. Mukhopadhyay wanted the actors to get so immersed in their respective characters that they didn’t question why these women were killing innocent people. “Normally, directors and actors have a lot of conversations about what had driven a character to do something. In this case, there really isn’t any logic,” he says. Among the three, only Gill didn’t find it difficult to disengage from the character the moment she heard ‘cut’. For Gupta, a cold-blooded killing scene affected her for a while. “I had to keep telling myself that the character has her reasons for doing it,” she says.

Khanna, who was excited to explore ‘extreme female toxicity’, also found the process exceptionally challenging. “I broke down multiple times during the shoot. I just couldn’t understand what made my character, Shikha, commit 49 murders, or how she could not feel any remorse. In her head, she was ‘releasing these people from hell on Earth’. It was really hard to completely let go of everything I know to become this cold-blooded killer,” she says, about her first negative character.

Posham Pa releases on ZEE5 on August 21.

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 11:52:03 PM |

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