All hail the Queen: Kriti Sanon reflects on the fearless qualities of Parvati Bai in Panipat
As you don’t speak Marathi, how long did it take you to master the language in order to deliver the dialogues fluently?
I didn’t know Marathi, but I made sure whatever little Marathi I spoke in the film, it sounded authentic and effortless. In the past, I have worked in Telugu films where I had to deliver dialogues in Telugu, so in comparison speaking Marathi was not that tough. I also had a dialect coach who also paid attention to how I delivered every dialogue.
For the time being, I also started believing that I belonged to that era in order to get the expressions right. The whole attire reinforced that belief and helped me feel even more strongly like Parvati Bai. By the end of my shoot, I started enjoying the language.
You play the role of Parvati Bai in the movie, how would you describe your experience?
Just like other heroines in Ashutosh Sir’s films, my character Parvati Bai is a powerful, multidimensional and independent woman who is a vaidya (physician). She is emotionally and physically strong and is one of the important characters during the Third battle of Panipat.
Initially, when the character was narrated to me, I didn’t realise how courageous and fearless she was. Parvati Bai is someone who knows sword fighting and doesn’t fear to come to the forefront to guard her people.
Unlike the other female characters of that time, she is also very vocal and doesn’t hesitate about expressing her love for and to her husband Sadashiv Rao. All in all, it was really a unique experience portraying this role.
Before taking up this role, how much did you know about this period in history?
Honestly, in school, I wasn’t really interested in history and hence didn’t pay much attention to the subject back then. While I was aware of a few details of Parvati Bai and the role she played during the war, I didn’t know the exact details.
But through this film, I learnt a lot about her journey, the obstacles she faced and the various problems she and her troop faced. The narration of the film also tells us how this battle changed the direction of our country’s history, something that many of us don’t know.
What would you like to say about your Marathi avatar?
Coming from a Punjabi background, I was really excited to dress up like a Maharashtrian. To put up the traditional look, I wore a navvari sari in the most authentic style, my hair tied in a khopa, jewellery, and the nath bringing out the Peshwa look.
After a lot of research to unveil the true persona of Parvati Bai, my team made me wear incredibly detailed jewellery. My hairpins were made of gold which had designs of birds on them; there were some peacock tails on the earrings. After getting dressed up for the first time in the elaborate and grand look, it made me feel like I was from that period of time.
You shared screen space with yesteryears popular actors Zeenat Aman and Padmini Kolhapure, how did it feel?
I have grown up watching their films and consider myself extremely lucky to work with these veteran actors and learn from them. When I met Zeenat Ma’am, she hugged me and appreciated my work which quite a hard-touching moment for me. While working with her, she eased my discomfort with her elegance and calm nature.
And Padmini Ma’am is a very subtle and candid actor. While shooting with her, I used to be blown away with how flawlessly she used to do her scenes. Both of them are really hardworking and even after so many decades they still have the hunger to do their job perfectly. They are truly an inspiration and I hope to be like them at their age.
For the role of Parvati Bai, you had to learn to ride a horse and engage in sword fighting for the movie. How was the preparation for the same?
I had already been trained in horse riding for one of my previous movies, so for Panipat, I didn’t face much difficulty. For the movie, I underwent special training to learn sword fighting. Although it was not an easy skill to learn, I had to don the complete attire of a Peshwa – right from the navvari sari to the jewellery and perform the fight scenes.
Wearing such a heavy attire and doing sword fighting is quite challenging. But, it was fun as well. While shooting for this film, I realised that I enjoyed action sequences and it is something I would like to do again in the future.
Catch the world television premiere on February 29, 8 pm on Zee Cinema.
— Team Indulge