Flora Saini is making a mark with her bold choice of roles
For an actor, happiness is when the movie is well-received at the box office, gets national recognition and grabs prestigious awards. Flora Saini has found that happiness. From Nagesh Kukunoor’s Dhanak to her role in Srijit Mukherji’s Vidya Balan-starrer Begum Jaan, this Mumbai-based actress is on a roll this year. Her calendar is full with the web-series Aisha produced by Raghu and Rajeev (of Roadies fame), Powerplay by Excel Entertainment (Farhan Akhtar’s production house) and one directed by Ram Gopal Varma, besides a feature film in the pipeline. Known to speak her mind about any topic ranging from the casting couch to body shaming within the industry, we speak to her about her role in Begum Jaan.
You play a bold role in Begum Jaan...
I play a Gujarati tribal called Maina in the film. We were briefed about our roles and we all were asked to be very unsophisticated. You see, the women in a brothel, they are very bold. When I was doing Nagesh Kukunoor’s Lakhsmi (2014), I remember going to red light areas and because of this, I had a basic idea of how it was going to be.
How does the film address the societal stigmas to do with women of the street?
The script is metaphorical. There is a larger picture reflected through this brothel. What Srijit told us was that there are brothels in India where there are women from different states. They fight, love and
care for each other. However, when there is an external force against them, all of them get together and fight for freedom. This is not a story about the brothel, but about freedom.
How was it acting with Vidya Balan?
She was the definition of a superstar for me. She had no starry tantrums and she is so humble. I think it is the love that people give you that makes you a star. We had gifts flowing in from her whenever we felt homesick. We were shooting at the Jharkhand border in June and July. It was extremely hot and the food, water and snacks kept flowing in.
How do you think this film will impact your career graph?
When I signed the film, I didn’t know it would get such a wonderful response and it would be such a big project. I have been in many advertisements and movies like Dhanak, MSG: The Messenger, Lakshmi and a few others, but none of them got the feedback that Begum Jaan is getting.
Begum Jaan releases today.