Mumbai, Aug 11 (IANS) Even before India achieved Independence and walking the Cannes red carpet became an annual ritual of the film fraternity, her debut film ‘Neecha Nagar” became the first Indian film to win the ‘Palme d’Or’, the highest award of that festival, in 1946. The 93-year-old veteran actress Kamini Kaushal says that she never ever felt overwhelmed by watching herself on-screen.
With films like “Nadiya Ke Paar”, “Biraj Bahu” and “Shaheed” to Shah Rukh Khan-starrer “Chennai Express” and Shahid Kapoor’s latest commercially successful “Kabir Singh” – Kaushal has celebrated cinema all through her life.
Asked if she has any favourites of her own performances, Kaushal told IANS: “I never felt overwhelmed by watching myself on-screen. I always looked at my performances critically. When I look at any of my films, I ask myself if I managed to convey what I wanted to express through my performance? Am I looking convincing in the role?”
“Also for me, my director is the first audience, so I have to be in sync with my director because in the end, I am executing his vision, right? There are many times when I did not do the rehearsals with Bimal (Roy) da, but read the script worked on that scene internally and told Bimal da that ‘Let’s take the shot’ and it came out right,” said the actress who has paired opposite Ashok Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand and Dilip Kumar.
Born in Lahore in 1927, Kaushal grew up in an environment where theatre and live performances were more common as entertainment rather than cinema. In fact, she had no plan to join the film industry as the environment was quite tense back then and youngsters were more interested in achieving freedom from British rule.
However, she was a performer since childhood and, according to her, she was always encouraged by her family to try new things as a child. Acting in films was one such experiment.
She was part of films like “Shabnam”, “Arzoo”, “Shaheed”, “Roti Kapda Aur Makaan” and “Sanyasi”, among many others.
She believes that acting is a quite tricky performing art where one has to portray a character that might not close to his/her personality.
“But if you pretend, and your expression does not have the touch of realism, the audience will catch it in no time and you will never look convincing,” Kaushal explained.
So, is it easier for an actor to identify someone who is untrue in real life?
“I think any intelligent mind would easily differentiate between truth and falsehood. When it comes to actors, the fact is, what we are doing on-screen is a pre-planned thing so there is a method to the story that we are creating. Having said that, we actors are very good observers,” she smiled.
Is there any young actress of the new generation that reminds of her younger days?
“Honestly speaking, these days I do not watch films that much. Whatever little I have seen, I think these days most of the young girls are so bubbly and commercial cinema is quite like popcorn. Maybe that has become the nature of the business, I think so as life people are so busy to achieve so much. Their bucket list is long and the attention span is shorter.
“I think that is the change that has happened, and no one can fight the change because that is constant; that is the reality. But I was wondering, though these kids are achieving a lot, does it have the depth, the quality,” questioned Kaushal, who briefly came out of retirement earlier this year for “Kabir Singh” and will soon be seen in the “Komal Nahata’s Aur Ek Kahani” chat show.
In sum, it’s been a satisfying life for an actress who famously said in an interview some years ago: “Even as a heroine I never made a fuss!”
(Arundhuti Banerjee can be contacted at email@example.com)