Actress Annapurna Soni who has previously been seen in such films and series as Chhapaak, Class of 83 and Sunflower, is earning praises for her short yet impactful performance in The Railway Men. We chat with her about the same and more.
Tell us about your role in The Railway Men.
The name of my character is Shazia, based on a real-life person, Sajda Bano, who lost her husband to a gas leak in the Union Carbide factory in 1981 before the tragic Bhopal gas leak took place in 1984. My character track is with Babil Khan, who plays Imaad Riaz, a close friend of Shazia's husband and almost the last hope for Shazia and her family.
How did you prepare for the role?
It was a little challenging for me as this character comes from an era when I was not even born. Also, Shazia is totally opposite to my nature and my experiences. I feel that to understand any character, first of all, it is essential to understand that time and its surrounding environment. I read a lot of news about the tragedy, searched for photos of that time and also found some videos on the internet and got an idea of the situation and incident. But even then it was difficult to bring out the stability, tolerance, courage and hope stored within her. I was able to understand but I felt it was not coming in my body. When I went on the set, all of it slowly merged together and after 2-3 days of shooting, I found my comfort zone with the character.
Describe your working experience with actors like Kay Kay, Babil, Madhavan and others.
It was a great learning experience working with all these actors in the series and observing them working on their scenes and characters. One day when I was watching Kay Kay Menon's scene on the monitor, I was amazed to see him doing the same scene again and again with the same ease and intensity. Madhavan is a big name but while working on the set, he was so friendly and relaxed. They all were so humble and made me feel so comfortable. Babil's energy is amazing, and his curiosity and willingness to learn and work is amazing. It was a lot of fun talking to him and even more fun doing scenes with him.
Your upcoming projects?
There are two web series of mine that are ready for release. One is Sunflower season 2 where I am playing one of the primary roles and the other is Swagatam. There's also another web series called Kaphal for which I am currently filming and there are a couple of short films which are doing festival rounds.