Sonali Bendre on ‘The Broken News’: These are not stories that are told very often

Sonali Bendre

Sonali Bendre

All set to make her digital debut with ZEE5’s  The Broken News, Sonali Bendre is looking forward to returning to fictional television after almost seven years. “I am very excited about the kind of stories that are being told,” Bendre says over a Zoom call.

An adaptation of the British series  Press, The Broken News focuses on two rival Indian newsrooms. “These are not stories that are told very often,” says Sonali, who plays Amina Qureshi, an editor-in-chief, heading the Awaaz Bharati news channel.

She confesses that she loves the fact that her character runs the newsroom. “If I am going to do fiction, if I am going to act, then the roles that I want are of characters that have a strong voice. I want to tell stories that have hope in them,” she says, of her decision to take up this role.

Seen last in Balaji Telefilms’  Ajeeb Daastaan Hai Ye (2014) Sonali may have taken a step back from fictional roles, but never really left television screens. Appearing as a judge in shows like  India’s Best Dramebaaz (2013-16), and  Super Dancer (2021), she describes reality shows as a platform where she can voice her views freely. However, playing different characters is what she likes best. “I want to move to new avenues. I don’t want to keep doing the same thing,” she says, adding that streaming platforms give her this varied choice of characters to play from.

A still from ‘The Broken News’

A still from ‘The Broken News’

With  The Broken News, she  was also testing the waters. Wanting to see how this venture goes, Bendre admits that she was being a bit cautious, taking it one step at a time.

Streaming platforms have undeniably widened the scope of roles being offered to female actors, and for Sonali, this perfectly aligns with how she views her future in the industry. “I am done with being a 20-year-old,” she says, adding that she wants her craft to be as respected as her age. “I always say that the lines on my face are the stripes which I have earned; I am proud of them and have lived a life to earn them, and I don’t want to deny the fact that I have lived that life. I evolved from it, and that’s been my learning.”

Besides being a unique character, the show’s premise itself was a catalyst in convincing Bendre to take up the role. Against the present-day backdrop,  The Broken News, directed by Vinay Waikul, promises to be a newsroom drama that sheds light on the growing plague of fake news, as the characters walk the tightrope of presenting truth versus peddling sensationalism.

Describing the show as “part of our reality today,” Sonali claims that  The Broken News holds up a mirror to the society that we inhabit. “Media is part of our society. It is going exactly where the entire society is heading.”

An ‘overload of information’ is how she defines the modern pattern of news consumption. “A lot of times we treat information like knowledge. It’s not.”

Sonali also cautions against being over-informed to the point where people might ignore important details. “In the 80s or 90s, you didn’t have access to so much information, so what you didn’t know was hidden. Now you know everything, so this overload might cause you miss out on what is actually relevant.”

Through  The Broken News, Bendre and the cast, which includes Jaideep Ahlawat, Shriya Pilgaonkar, and Indraneil Sengupta, attempt to present a 360-degree view of where your news is coming from. “It’s not about black-and-white and judging, but about what is happening,” says Sonali, describing the inner workings of a newsroom as “more exciting than a thriller.”

Sonali Bendre and Shriya Pilgaonkar in a still from the show

Sonali Bendre and Shriya Pilgaonkar in a still from the show

Now that Sonali has forayed into fiction again, she is optimistic about the opportunities that lie ahead. Having already worked in the Tamil and Telugu industries, in successful films like  Kadhalar Dhinam (1999),  Murari (2001) and  Manmadhudu (2002), she hopes to explore more avenues. “I want to work with all the new talent out there. They’re doing things differently, and I will get to learn from that.”

Over the years, part of Sonali’s learning has also included acknowledging when one needs to take a break: “When I worked earlier, we just went on working and working. That’s not the way I want to continue. I love the fact that you prep, get ready, give it your all, and then... take a break. And then, that pattern follows.”

The Broken News will premiere on ZEE5 on June 10

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Printable version | Jun 9, 2022 7:05:51 pm |