By Martin D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | January 17, 2018
“I am a bit lazy. I need a very strict director. I need someone who can keep me focused on my character. This goes for my personal life too—I need people who can keep me on my toes. Otherwise I slip…”
“I also agree that everyone looks the same with the same upper lip, same nose job and the same jawline. I guess they go to the same surgeon [laughs]. No one understands, I think; everyone does not have to have big lips and a sharp nose and a thin jawline!”
Raima Sen in conversation with Opening Doorz on the eve of the release of Vodka Diaries.
You look stunning in every frame in the pictures you have been posting on social media of late. What’s the secret of your glow?
Ha ha ha… I have to thank my parents for that. My genes, I guess.
Seriously, you have to be doing something…
Nothing. My Dad is a handsome man. Everyone from his side of the family is blessed with good looks. Ditto my Mom. I don’t even diet. I’m eating biryani all the time. I rarely go to the gym and I have been in Kolkatta for some time now shooting three back-to-back films. I’m just happy. Eating and glowing. I guess.
Are you saying you don’t believe in workouts?
I do when I am free. But when I am working, I don’t. I haven’t worked out for over two months now. When I do, it’s sometimes the gym; sometimes hot yoga; sometimes swimming. Also, I live close to the beach in Mumbai so I am running or walking and also eating all the junk food available along the stretch!
You have the edge in your photographs, with no ‘inputs’ to the lips or no ‘rearranging the teeth’, something very rare these days because everyone ends up looking the same?
My sister and me have never thought of doing anything of this sort. My mother would have killed us. I also agree that everyone looks the same with the same upper lip, same nose job and the same jawline. I guess they go to the same surgeon [laughs]. No one understands I think; everyone does not have to have big lips and a sharp nose and a thin jawline!
Coming back to your release this week, Vodka Diaries, you guys must have had a lot of Rum shots, considering you shot at Manali in the winter…
[Laughs] Well Kay Kay was the one who had to take the shots! But yes, we shot in Manali that too in January last year and it was snowing. Luckily for me, my parts were all indoors. Kay Kay had to do all the hard work in the snow.
Was it difficult shooting in the snow?
The crew was out in the cold. This is a film which is real so since it was snowing we wore our woolens. Luckily, no one had to wear skimpy clothes!
Bollywood Diaries, your last film was noticed and talked about, despite it being low budget and with not a big star cast. What are your expectations from Vodka Diaries?
Vodka Diaries is about human relationships. It’s a thriller. I personally love thrillers. I’m sure the audience will be intrigued. I play a mysterious character who keeps appearing and disappearing. I keep challenging Kay Kay and messing with his mind. Kay Kay plays a detective in the film. Watch the film to find out more.
Raima Sen is known to be lazy. You always let your character be. Even in Bollywood Diaries, you tore into the scene only in the latter half?
I agree I am a bit lazy. I need a very strict director. I need someone who can keep me focused on my character. This goes for my personal life too—I need people who can keep me on my toes. Otherwise I slip.
So it would be right to say that you are a director’s actor?
Yes. I am a director’s actor.
And who are the directors who you think were strict with you?
Ritupurno Ghosh, Aparna Sen, Pradeep Sarkar, Tanuja Chandra (unfortunately the film did not release. But I saw it and liked what I did), Kaushik Ganguly. One director who really took me the distance was Teja. I did a Telugu film [Dharyam] with him. I was wondering what I was doing in the movie, getting pulled up by him time and again. But after I saw my performance I said to myself: ‘I need someone like that. I need someone who will not let me get away with mediocrity’. I thanked Teja for being strict and extracting the best out of me.
Fitness is now the buzz word; did Mandira Bedi your co-star ever give anyone a complex on the sets with her fit body? I mean was she always working out between shots?
No she wasn’t only thinking about workouts. It was too cold in Manali to think about working out. On the sets, Mandira was engrossed about her scenes and poetry. I only had one scene with her. I just saw her on the sets, never in the gym in Manali.
It’s almost 15 years now you have been in the industry, what are the changes you have seen these past years in terms of film-making?
Films have a lot more content now. Most of the films of today are raising awareness about a lot of prevalent issues. Technology too has changed a lot. There’s also a lot more talent across board.
And in terms of auditioning, has it become easier or is it still the same?
I have been extremely fearful of auditions. Only recently I managed to complete an audition and after I finished it I turned around and told the director that I came to get rid of my fear and I did not give it my 100 per cent.
Why this fear of auditioning?
I don’t know. It has been there and I know it, but I am also working on that fear. There have been times when I have walked halfway out of an audition, or turned my car while on the way or just not turned up. I’m hoping to get rid of this fear.
Do you have any particular ‘standout scene’ in your career?
I wouldn’t say a scene: in every film I have done so far, there is always this one little scene where I can say I have done justice to myself. I can’t judge myself though.
Younger girls have come on the scene and have disappeared. What is the secret of your longevity?
I work a lot in regional cinema so that keeps me going, I guess. I love to do all sorts of films. As an actor you must be an all-rounder!
Riya is now married. The question obviously is this: when is Raima tying the knot?
I think marriage will happen when it has to happen. I believe in going with the flow; who knows what’s in store tomorrow.
Also Read: Rewinding with Raima Sen