Opening Doorz Editorial | February 27, 2017

Bollywood Diaries released exactly a year ago, and although the film may not have received awards, it received critical acclaim. In a tribute to one of the best films of last year, Opening Doorz reproduces an interview with Raima Sen that appeared just before the film’s release…

‘Turn off the lights’. That’s Raima Sen’s favourite bedroom line. That’s what she told me almost 12 years ago. She hates the glare when she is asleep, just for the record!

‘Turning off the lights’ would have various connotations in Bollywood and Bollywood Diaries directed by K D Satyam which releases this Friday sees Raima Sen playing a prostitute who wants to make it big in Bollywood. So is that what this movie is all about? ‘Turning off the lights’, the way Bollywood functions, we ask her ‘tongue firmly in cheek’? Raima does not bite the bait. She digs straight into her reply. “No. It has nothing to do with the way this industry functions although the name would suggest so. This movie is a tribute to the common man besotted with Bollywood,” she informs.

And are you turning off the lights in your intimate scenes, we ask her. “Watch the movie,” she laughs.

As Martin D’Souza chats with the talented actress who made heads turn in 2004 with her act in Rituparno Ghosh’s Choker Bali, he realizes that her favourite bedroom line had a serious implication on her career. She almost turned off the lights on it!

Read on to find out more…

Have you lived up to your potential in Bollywood?
Not yet; I feel it’s just the beginning for me! I have yet to explore Bollywood.

What has been your frustration rate on a scale of 1/10 as far as your career is concerned?
I have worked with some really good directors and films, but I am still looking for that ‘one’ role! But I guess it’s all about luck and timing in Bollywood. On a scale of 1/10, I would rate my frustration level at 5. But at times it has dipped!

What would you say was the reason for not acting in as many Bollywood films, after you made your mark, first in Godmother and then in Choker Bali in 2004?
I guess I’m too laidback. I have never gone out for auditions or meetings. I have never indulged in PR activities too. I guess that would be the main reasons for my career ticking slowly.

Why were you so laidback? Why did you not try harder? Was it overconfidence?
[laughs] Definitely not overconfidence! I was too young then. I did not realize then that all these related activities were also important. I thought getting noticed in films was good enough. I later learnt that in Bollywood there are camps, one has to do robust PR and also have the patience… everything counts. I never had to struggle, maybe that was one of the reason I never tried hard enough.

Friday, sees you once again in Bollywood Diaries. What is the movie all about?
Bollywood Diaries is about people outside of Bollywood. These are the people who are fanatics about Bollywood, some probably extremely talented but who don’t make it to Bollywood. We have seen films about Bollywood; behind the scenes, but not about those who never make it to Bollywood. This is a film about them; about their dreams; their frustrations.

What is your role in this movie?
I play a sex worker who wants to make it in big in Bollywood. My character is of the opinion that if Sunny Leone can make it why can’t she!

But Sunny isn’t a sex worker…
Sunny is not! There’s a dialogue in the movie… just an example. She is an outsider who made it big in Bollywood.

There was a very traumatic rape scene in your last Bollywood film Children of War. How difficult was it for you to enact it?
Children of War was a traumatic experience altogether. Every action in the film was done for real. In fact, the rape scene was the easiest cause because Pawan Malhotra made me feel comfortable. He is a super actor and made it easy for me.

Any other releases lined up this year?
There’s a film called 3 Dev with Kunal Roy Kapoor. There’s also Ishq Kabhi Kariyo Na with Prateik and an untitled courtroom drama where I play a lawyer opposite Parvin Dabbas.

This first appeared on on February 23, 2016

Also Read: Have faith and believe in yourself!

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