|the-south-asian.com DECEMBER 2001|
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DECEMBER 2001 Contents
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- is she the 'Renaissance Woman'?
Isiodore Domnick Mendis
There's depth, power and drama in her interpretation of characters she plays on the screen. Whether a naxalite in Hazar Chaurasi Ki Ma, or the wife of a psychopathic cop in Aks or even a rape victim in Bawandar, Nandita Das practices her craft by intuition…
The film revolves around Bhawari Devi [Nandita Das] and her rickshaw-puller husband, Sohan [Raghuvir Yadav] who are approached by a social worker, Shobha [Deepti Naval] to help her spread the word against the evils of child marriage. Bhawari takes up the cause with gusto but the villagers are so enraged they get together and gang rape her in full sight of her husband.
A horrified Shobha decides to fight for Bhawari and creates a nationwide sensation. She even helps her get Rs.100,000 from the Prime Minister's fund. Bhawari loses her case in a lower court, but decides to join hands with Shobha in her crusade against child marriage.
" This is the kind of character close to my heart," says Nandita Das, eagerly awaiting the release. Critics say her role is so powerful that even after the mauling the film received from the censors, she could still walk away with the national award.
Says Nandita, who recently won the best actor award at the Santa Monica Film Festival, USA for Bawandar, " It's a compelling theme where the film's central character has suffered injustice and has the guts to fight the system without a gun. It's a commentary on our system."
For almost three years now, Nandita Das has been forging ahead with these kind of powerful performances. She practices her craft by intuition. That explains such an assembly of characters that display the depth, power and the drama in her interpretation of a closet lesbian in Fire, an ayah in Earth, a naxalite in Hazar Churasi Ki Ma, a rape victim in Bawandar or even the wife of a psychopathic cop (Amitabh Bachchan) in Aks.
"I have no method, you know," she explains. " Acting is just a smattering of things I learnt from different teachers."
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