Lips unsealed: Aahana on her revolutionary role in Lipstick Under My Burkha.
Mumbai-based actor Aahana Kumra is hard to miss. From making her mark in theatre, films, television and online in a web series, this 28-year-old will soon be seen playing a lead role in the much-hyped film, Lipstick Under My Burkha, slated for release on July 21. Having also bagged the lead role in Amazon Prime’s maiden Indian Series, Inside Edge, Aahana speaks with us on working in different forums and how stand-up comedy is right up her alley.
How has theatre helped you shape your acting skills?
During a play, we try reaching the last person sitting on the last bench of a proscenium, irrespective of the number of people. But film is an intimate affair. On a 70 mm screen, a small mistake grows into a proportion you cannot think of. Towards the end, performance, rehearsals and emotions are all the same. However, I have enjoyed all the mediums that I have worked in. Television has taught me how to act and make moves quickly, while theatre taught me patience.
Your experience of working in several acclaimed plays including Naseeruddin Shah’s Gadha aur Gadda, By George, Makrand Deshpande’s Sir Sir Sarla.
Naseer is very strict, and it often feels like school, where you get treated like a student and there are rehearsals for at least six hours every day. If you’re ready for the grilling process and learning, then come to theatre. With Makrand Deshpande, on the other hand, you have to be like water — if he changes anything on stage, then you have to be alert and adapt to the changes spontaneously. You should know how to push and pull as the changes are made. A lot of people that come from theatre form the backbone of cinema.
What drew you to your character in Lipstick Under My Burkha?
Leela, the character I play, is an ambitious beautician and a fiery person, who is not going to be deterred by anyone, and she is someone that I identify with immediately. She is my alter ego and the character
totally reflects my personality.
What are your leisure activities apart from movies?
I like binge-watching. Lately, I have been following House of Cards and 13 Reasons Why on Netflix. Apart from that, I am a very humorous person by nature. I wouldn’t mind taking up stand-up comedy if I get a chance in the future.
Cinematic idols that you look up to?
I have always wanted to work with Robert De Niro and Irrfan Khan. However, I have been lucky enough to work with Ratna Pathak and Naseer, both really fantastic actors.
Lipstick Under My Burkha is releasing on July 21.