Uunchai: Sarika Says Female Actors Continue to Be Pitted Against Each Other
Veteran actor Sarika might have been appearing in Hindi films sporadically but 2022 proved to be quite different. Earlier this year, she was seen playing the lead in filmmaker Alankrita Shrivastava’s short My Beautiful Wrinkles in the anthology film Modern Love: Mumbai, which explored the story of an older woman trying to deal with a young man’s sexual interest in her. And now, Sarika is gearing up for the release of her next film Uunchai, which is all set to hit the big screen this Friday.
In an exclusive chat with News18, she says that though she’s selective about the kind of films she wants to do, she couldn’t say a no to filmmaker Sooraj Barjatya. Sarika shares, “Rajshri (Productions) and I have history. We did Geet Gaata Chal (1975) together. It remains to me one of the most beautiful memories because of the people in the production and the whole production house. Doing Uunchai was like completing a circle. In my head, I had decided that I will say a yes to any film that they offer me because of the personal equation I share with them.”
With novelty being the operative word today, filmmakers are trying their hands at helming genre-defining and high-concept projects. But according to Sarika, it is the inherent simplicity and earnestness of Uunchai, which is likely to make it stand out.
She opines, “After I read the script that Sooraj ji sent me during the lockdown, I thought that my role was really interesting. So, it worked out perfectly well from an actor’s point of view as well. The screenplay is very simple, basic and human. And sometimes, I think you don’t need to do great things, have gimmicky scenes or twists and turns to make a film interesting.”
Uunchai also marks the first time that she shares screen space with actor Neena Gupta. Though they’ve been peers for decades, Sarika reveals that she met the latter for the first time on the sets of the film. “But we only have two or three scenes together. Most of my scenes are with the boy gang,” she remarks.
To celebrate Uunchai’s spirit and theme of friendship, in a unique marketing strategy, the character posters of the cast were unveiled by their contemporaries from the film industry. Happy to have her character Mala Trivedi introduced by actor Kirron Kher, Sarika expresses, “It was so gracious of her to do that. I had no idea about it. In fact, I didn’t know about the concept of our friends launching our posters. So, when I saw her introducing my character, I was so touched.”
She further adds, “Meri aur Kirron ji ki utni jaan pehchaan hai nahi waise. I sent her a message through the production house thanking her. As artistes, this is what we’re looking at – knowing and working with actors where everyone is secure enough to appreciate each other.”
Speaking of friendships, cat fights between female actors – as were reported by the grapevine – were not unheard of back in the day. Quiz her if she ever became the subject of such pieces and the 60-year-old states, “It was just that I was a part of that narrative but I, specifically, was never in the headlines. But if you look at the news cycle, I think female actors being pitted against each other – in terms of their fashion sense or clothes – happens even today, but maybe it’s more subtle and stylised.”
But does she think that women, more than men, become the targets of such face-offs? “I think both men and women actors face this. In fact, I think they’re more ruthless with male actors because the box office game comes in. There are conversations happening all time as to whose film worked and whose didn’t. They’ve a harder time than us,” points out the Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012) and Baar Baar Dekho (2016) actor.
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