By Martin D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | January 31, 2018
Diaries seem to be the order of releases for Raima Sen. Bollywood Diaries, Vodka Diaries and now Kuldip Patwal Diaries… oops Kuldip Patwal: I didn’t do it. Opening Doorz to some pages from Raima Sen’s diary, from the chats she has had with Martin D’Souza over the past 15 years…
Barely a fortnight after Vodka Diaries, Raima Sen is gearing up for yet another thriller. This time the action lines are drawn in the courtroom. Raima plays Simrat Chadha in this Friday’s release; Kuldip Patwal: I didn’t do it.
Raima Sen: The Character Actor
It’s a whodunit alright, but fraught with lots of drama, tension and action. And as usual, Raima uses her sex appeal [her eyes] to draw you in as is evident from the trailers. Her eyes are what first captures her audience before she catapults herself into her character.
Speaking about her character Simrat, Raima says: “Simrat Chadha as is resolute, modern and an exceptional realist. She’s ready to take challenges head-on and protects her territory fiercely—whether it’s dealing with the political party, her private life or the accused Kuldip Patwal. She draws her lines clearly and it’s evident to the viewer that she’s not one to be messed with.”
Throwing light on the nature of her character as the prosecuting lawyer, Raima adds: “I haven’t done such a multifarious character previously and it was not easy. But I think it worked. People talk of soft characters written for women. The female characters in this film own the space they are in. The audience will be treated to some powerful performances.”
If Kuldip Patwal… is all about women power, Vodka Diaries was about human relationships. It was intriguing, and very well put for a first-time director. Unfortunately, the film did not do too well although it received decent reviews.
A script like this can often be lost in translation but debutant director Kushal Shrivastav displayed the gumption of a veteran to pull off an amazing plot, right out of the mind! Five murders, all cleverly planned. Within the day, the victims are back to living their lives!
The movie had suspense, intrigue and deceit. It also had performances that were true to character. Moreover, it had a plot that was executed with grandeur, and also Raima, who kept a firm grip on her character till the end.
In February 2016, Raima made her presence felt after a long time essaying the role of Imli, a prostitute in Bollywood Diaries. It was a film that received rave reviews and was talked about for its novel subject as well as performances. Salim Diwan as Rohit, the call center employee was exceptional. As for Raima, she started off hesitantly, but as the movie progressed she immersed herself into her character to give out a fine performance. Her transformation in looks and performance as a prostitute in Kolkata to her scorching new avatar in Dubai was noteworthy.
Bollywood Diaries was 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 was about them; about their dreams; their frustrations.
Before the release of Bollywood Diaries, Raima had been honest with her opinion of herself that she had not lived up to her potential in Bollywood. “I feel it’s just the beginning for me! I have yet to explore Bollywood.”
Dwelling on the rat race to be seen, heard and read (in the media) she had said: “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.”
Of late, she has been ultra-visible on social media and that, I believe, is paying rich dividend. She’s also backing it up with fine performances.
From Raima Sen’s Diary
After the rave reviews she received for her performance in Choker Bali, over a decade ago, Raima was frank in her opinion. “Frankly, this response has overwhelmed me; Every critic has appreciated my performance,” she had told me then.
In this film, she played a wife, a naive innocent village girl. “Obviously it was very difficult portraying a naive village girl taking into consideration my anglicized background. It was very difficult bringing out this simple quality. It was a very tough role. This simplicity had to come out in each and every stage. Secondly, my director was fabulous. He made it easy for me. There was no workshop or rehearsal as such. He just explained it to me so well. The day I went on the set I understood what he wanted.” She had said then.
This brings us to her revelation now that she is a Director’s actor. It also explains why she slackens on screen when the director does not get a grip on her, unlike Rituparno Ghosh.
Raima Sen: Quick Take
On rating herself when compared to her mother and grandmother: That’s not fair. I’m not replying to it. We are three different generations so it’s difficult to compare. We all have our own identity.
On her favourite pastime: Reading.
On what success means to her: Popularity and a lot of money.
On her favourite Hollywood star: Mel Gibson.
On what she hates about people: Hypocrisy.
On her weak points: I’m very fickle, I take a long time to decide what I want to do.
On her strong points: I’m natural and spontaneous.
Also Read: Once a corporate lawyer, now an actor!