Mumbai: Pavleen Gujral might have ‘vanished’ from the scene after starring as the lovable Pammi in the critically acclaimed ‘Angry Indian Goddesses’, but she is set to return to the industry with a bang following an important ‘addition’ to her life.
In an exclusive interview with Deccan Chronicle, the actress opens up on what has kept her busy since the 2015 release, “After I shot ‘Angry Indian Goddesses’, I conceived; I’m a mother to a three-year-old now. When the movie opened at the Toronto Film Festival, Rome and all over the world, I did accompany them, but I still had a child. But then, I decided not to take up anything new because she was very small. But now she’s old enough and it was in April last year that I got back to it (career).”
She adds, “I’ve been a part of an Amazon Prime series and also shot for a TV show on Discovery Jeet, and all of this is going to come out this year.”
Talking about her character in the film, Pavleen doesn’t see resemblance to the saree-clad Pammi except the fact that she is also a South Delhi girl, and is surely lot more open in her thoughts than the judgemental housewife she played. She also says she is in touch with the 'girl gang' Sarah-Jane Dias, Anushka Manchanda and Rajshri Deshpande who she stays with whenever she comes to Mumbai and hosts when they visit Delhi.
‘Angry Indian Goddesses’ raised several pertinent issues, right from women empowerment to sexual harassment much before the currently trending #Metoo movement kicked in. Would it have been any different had the film released today? “I feel ‘Angry Indian Goddesses’ was a huge part of the influence towards women empowerment. I don’t think there’d have been any difference in anybody’s performance. We, the girls of ‘Angry Indian Goddesses’ felt the same then and we feel this way now also. This movement has given us this concrete faith in this belief that this is the right way to go. What is not okay is not okay. But ‘Angry Indian Goddesses’ would have been the same if it released now, 10 years hence or 10 years before,” Pavleen answers.
‘Angry Indian Goddess’ was lauded at international festivals, but didn’t quite garner the same response at home, at the box office or awards show, but the actress is not disappointed and instead delighted as the team didn’t even expect this much considering their battle with the censor board.
The actress reveals that the film was going housefull, but the makers didn’t have the funds to sustain. Going to the smaller cities in India, a strategy they employed in other countries, could’ve helped the film, she feels. However, Pavleen is pleased with the audiences’ shift in accepting content-driven cinema over ‘entertainment’ today, something that could’ve helped the film had it released today.
Despite the ups and downs, the qualified lawyer feels ‘Angry Indian Goddesses’ has boosted her career immensely, and she didn’t even once think of going back to law. “I don’t think I’d have survived in law. It’s really hard. I did get offers, but my child was my priority. And even now, they approach me for great roles. I could’ve taken the route where I’d do small roles in big films, but I’ll have to do lot more to prove my worth as a good actor.
"In ‘Angry Indian Goddess’, it was such a great role that people knew that she can act. I'm still such a newcomer, I’ve seen people who have been in the business for so long, and still not getting anywhere, as it takes time. Like ‘Mukkabaaz’ actor Vineet Singh has been around for 17 years, and he is so good. I can’t imagine why people didn’t discover him before. But I feel I'm very lucky as it’s been like a year in the industry, and I feel I have done fairly well.
"One thing I really have a problem with is that people get categorised easily, like this typical saree-clad girl, who only cares about bags and all, but I’m so not that. Fortunately, I’m playing different roles, like in the web series, I’m playing a reporter, a very cut-throat character, and in the Discovery Jeet show, a strong woman, who is completely opposite to Pammi, so I’m glad that people have shown faith in me.”
Pavleen is also not averse to out and out commercial cinema, and wouldn’t mind approaching a Karan Johar or Rohit Shetty. She reveals that she is in touch with the casting directors and has auditioned too, but might not sign up to play a damsel in distress, for example.
On the film front, Pavleen is going great guns, with ‘Zindagi Kashmash’, also starring Shiv Pandit and Tejaswini Kolhapure, and a ‘festival film’ set in a Bihar village, in her kitty....