'I am turning into a producer with a web-series on the life of Jinnah': Ira Dubey

Ira Dubey on her upcoming theatrical productions, conscious decision of not pursuing films and turning a producer with a web-series on the life of Jinnah
Ira Dubey with Neil Bhoopalam during the rehearsals of A Few Good Men
Ira Dubey with Neil Bhoopalam during the rehearsals of A Few Good Men

Known popularly for her role in Bollywood film Aisha (2010) and theatrical productions The Glass Menagerie and 9 Parts of Desire, actress Ira Dubey is back with another play, A Few Good Men, which opens at Mumbai’s Aadyam. Ahead of the premiere, Ira tells Indulge about her role, conscious decision of not pursuing films, upcoming theatrical productions and turning a producer with a web-series on the life of Jinnah. Excerpts:

Q: You are playing Lieutenant Commander JoAnne Galloway! Tell us about it.
Ira Dubey:
I play Demi Moore guys! (laughs). Two marines are accused of killing one of their fellow marine, which is the premise of the play, and we are trying to uncover how this marine dies. My character JoAnne is a gutsy, ambitious, and focused individual. Someone very passionate about her work. She is an internal affairs person in the US Navy and is a special counsel. She knows the laws as well as ins and outs of how things work in the navy and is always a step ahead of everyone, including the lead guy Lieutenant Daniel Alastair Kaffee (played by Neil Bhoopalam). 

<em>Ira Dubey in a still from The Glass Menagerie</em>
Ira Dubey in a still from The Glass Menagerie

Q: What made you say yes to the script?
The script was originally written as a play and not as a film. The man who wrote it, Aaron Sorkin is a very famous American playwright and screenwriter and is one of the few writers in the US whose style of writing has been given a name - Sorkinism. It has a certain rhythm, humour and repartee to it. The script is dialogue-driven. So, being part of a Sorkin play is very exciting. At the same time, playing somebody in the navy is exciting, challenging and something very new for me. She is a badass who is trying to survive in a man’s world and that’s a very important element to her character and something relatable even in my industry.

Q: When the script is so popular and has also been adapted into a popular film, is it difficult is to not get influenced by how others have enacted the character?
Once you start working on something, you have a process - you are playing off different actors, your director’s vision, it is a brand new production... so, there is no scope for influence. Every time you play a part, you bring something to the table. Why is Meryl Streep so beloved and prolific even today no matter what part she plays because the way she plays a part, no one else can. Similarly, I hope to play JoAnna the way no one else can.


<em>Ira Dubey and Neil Bhoopalam</em>
Ira Dubey and Neil Bhoopalam

Q: Moving on to the films, why are we not seeing you do them often?
It is a little bit of a conscious choice. I need to push and challenge myself as an actress. And, I think I have made peace with my choices – what I can do and what I am not able to do. If you really want to be an actor in films, you have to go for it and do everything in your power to get that, which involves a lot of different things and I am not saying that they are good, bad or ugly but a lot of them are not for me. So, over the years, I have made a conscious choice that if somebody comes to me with a very interesting part, I am very happy to do it but I am not actively seeking parts in films. It is also connected to the direction that I am turning around – I am turning a producer.

Q: Tell us more about this new role...
I have got rights to a book and I am developing it into a web-series for an OTT platform. It is based on the life of Mr and Mrs Jinnah. It is a period piece, which is set in the 1920s of Bombay. With this, I am veering more in the direction of a producer. And, that’s another reason why I am taking a backseat.

Q: And, any plans of making your digital debut as an actor?
I have got a lot of offers but I am looking for something very interesting, something that I haven’t done before. It is important for me to go to places that I haven’t gone before as an actor.

Q: Lastly, tell us about your upcoming projects?
This year, I have four new theatrical productions. Besides Nadir Khan’s A Few Good Men, my mother Lilette Dubey is coming up with a play on 1930s actress Devika Rani where I will be playing the role of Devika. Then, I am doing Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya along with Kalki (Koechlin), which will premier later this year at Serendipity in Goa. Lastly, I am also working on Hedda Gabler with Ila Arun, which will premier early next year.

heena@newindianexpress.com; Twitter: @heenakhandlwal

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