Sacred Games actor Shalini Vatsa rides high with her act in Ludo
Born and brought up in Patna, actor Shalini Vatsa started her career in acting with a local theatre group Sarjana followed by stints at Delhi-based groups Asmita and Act One. Having extensively and intensively worked with stalwarts including Habib Tanvir and Barry John, her debut in Hindi feature film Peepli Live was noticed by those who matter, establishing her firmly as an artiste with a difference.
The film was followed by noteworthy acts in Shahid and Gurgaon but Vatsa is best known for her reprisal of the fiery Kanta Bai in Sacred Games. The actor has once more shown her prowess in Anurag Basu’s much-appreciated latest film, Ludo, that released recently on Netflix. Excerpts from a short chat with Vatsa:
You looked absolutely amazing as Lata Kutty in Ludo. How did you prepare for the same?
The preparation for the character was based entirely on Anurag Basu’s brief and direction. The way she looks, her get-up, everything is his vision. But the language needed preparation, and for that, I had a lot of support on set and from a few friends.
How was it working with Anurag Basu?
It was fun, and he knows exactly what he wants. He is so creatively passionate and keeps the process dynamic with a lot of freedom.
And, how was Pankaj as a co-actor?
You were together in Gurgaon as well. Pankaj is a very soft-spoken, warm person, and a terrific actor. He is a very supportive and very generous co-actor. Gurgaon and Ludo are two very different films and the relationship that we share in both films too are very different. I remember during the shoot of Gurgaon he got some terrific ghooghni (a zesty snack cooked with pulses) cooked and between the shots called me aside and said “kha lo jaldi se” (eat fast). We were shooting during winter and that hot ghooghni was soul food at that time.
What’s your acting method?
There is no particular method as such. I follow the script and the director’s vision. I feel different characters need different kinds of preparations, since different stories open up different scopes. I try to understand the character and her situation. If there is some specific work like working on the language or the accent I try and acquire that. But the primary guideline comes from the director.
How do you think things are changing for actors like you?
There are all kinds of stories being made and getting appreciated. People are watching and appreciating good content. Even OTT has opened up a lot of opportunities. In the long format, the characters have a longer journey, going into seasons even. And it is very exciting to be an actor in these times.
What’s the best lesson learnt so far in your acting career?
My best lesson so far in acting has been that I am fine as I am.
sharmishtha.g@new indianexpress.com @sharmidas