Aaditi Pohankar on playing a prime role in Prakash Jha's debut series Aashram
Whether it's a timid Mumbai constable discovering her strengths in She (Netflix) or playing the much-feted villainous role of Nandhini in a very profitable Marathi film Lai Bhaari, thespian and actor Aaditi Pohankar has performed each character with distinction, excelling in each role she has played.
In the recently released web series Aashram, directed by Prakash Jha, Aaditi plays Pammi — a 19-year-old aspiring wrestler sold to the magnanimity of a Godman — who is a key character to the plot, with all the nuances required. She is able to bring out the raw physical aggression and palpable emotions equally well in Pammi, who hails from a low caste poor family.
We had a chat with the actor on what went behind creating Pammi. Excerpts:
Aashram’s Pammi is receiving a lot of love front he audience. Tell us how you prepared for it?
I play this innocent whistleblower who’s drawn towards this magnificent and magnanimous Baba, whose job is to draw attention from innocent young people like us in this series. Pammi is young, innocent, and looks up to Babaji as a messiah. She’s an ambitious wrestler who feels it’s the path to humanity. You see the story through her eyes and it revolves around what happens to her family, the aashram and herself.
Every role will seem tough if you see them like that. I always pay attention to my craft and leave the rest for the audience to judge. In She, I played a layered character and when it caught attention, it boosted my confidence and I realised that one just needs to focus on work. I guess I have entered the profession at the right time when actors no longer aspire to be heroes or heroines, they go for characters that make a mark. I am flooded with good work since the perception has changed.
Are you a spontaneous or method actor?
I learnt from my teachers that life is cinema and cinema is life, and I try to follow that by observing life very well every moment. My friends get very bored since I quietly keep watching people closely, instead of hanging out with them. But that’s actually fun and interesting. While shooting, I stay away from my phone since I focus on one thing at a time.
How was it working with Prakash Jha?
Most amazing experience ever. He is so skilled and disciplined and the best part is he starts early and packs up on time, wrapping the entire schedule productively in a focussed manner.