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Boomerang unleashed my wild side: Rukmini Maitra
Photo courtesy: Rukmini Maitra Instagram profile

Boomerang unleashed my wild side: Rukmini Maitra

| @indiablooms | 03 Jun 2024, 07:49 pm

Actress Rukmini Maitra plays a double role including a robot in Sauvik Kundu's sci-fi comedy film Boomerang, which features superstar Jeet as the co-lead. As the campaign for the film- slated for June 7 release- is in full swing, IBNS correspondent Souvik Ghosh catches up with Rukmini on the project...

Q. Your bald look from the film has created a buzz. How challenging was it for you to mentally accept that look?

A. I would have probably been a tad bit more prepared had I known this was coming my way, considering the fact that this was not even a part of the narrative or the script. We were already five or six days into the shoot. I believe on the sixth or seventh day in the evening, Sauvik came up and asked me whether I was comfortable doing this. He explained the reason behind giving it a try. I wanted to know whether he was sure of keeping the shot in the film, which is a commercial one where actresses are conventionally shown in their glamorous avatars.

Photo courtesy: Rukmini Maitra Instagram profilePhoto courtesy: Rukmini Maitra Instagram profile

Bald women are mostly represented onscreen as widows. There is some form of suffering attached to women being bald on-screen. So there is a negative connotation in a way. But in Boomerang, it was something glam, out of the world and a play of confidence. I was on the make-up chair at 5 am the very next day and everyone including Jeet sir would check on me at regular intervals. I have never felt more confident than sporting that bald look. I feel I perform best when I don't have to put on makeup. I feel like having no strings attached and nothing holds me back. In my entire life, I didn't feel that confident as I did that morning walking into that set with a shaved head. I owned it. I felt like a supermodel inside. I think this is more to do with my modelling career. I felt I was in a 'Star Wars' kind of a film because of the blue eyes, makeup etc (laughs).

I feel the weight of the baggage when something is not explained to me. When it is explained and clarified, I feel like having wings. Moreover, I was sure of putting that post on social media even if people had unfollowed me because I had put my heart, soul, blood, and tears into it. I don't care about being judged for it.

Q. What was the reaction of your near ones including Dev (Tollywood superstar and Rukmini's boyfriend)?

A. (Laughs). My family and friends loved the look. I don't want to sound pompous but they said they haven't seen a woman look so hot (laughs). I have had a lot of directors, senior actors messaging me. Everyone loved this and complimented my courage. The image became synonymous to a show of courage, in a way. I didn't receive as many calls after my first film as I did after this look was revealed. The audience almost bombarded me with compliments. Thank God, I didn't think twice before doing it. A lot of times we get burdened by our self-doubts even before others' judgement or doubt. I am happy with the reactions.

Q. We have rarely come across robotic characters in Bengali films, a very few in Hindi. What was your reference point?

A. My reference point was the original play- Punaray Rubi Ray- from which the film is inspired. It was a 2018 play directed by Falguni Chatterjee. After Sauvik approached me, I went to watch the play, where I had seen Monalisa, who plays the protagonist Ruby Ray,who is Nisha and Isha in the film. I did a lot of workshops with her. Moreover, that play itself served as an inspiration for me but it was just a seed and then I had to build around it. I think the biggest inspiration was my wild side, in a way, which is actually buried under a huge mountain of being elegant. I believe everybody has a wild side which is waiting to be unleashed and it was my moment. This is one of those characters that I not only enjoyed but didn't want to step out of it because it was very difficult to play physically and mentally. Playing a robot requires a lot of measure and planning.

Photo courtesy: Rukmini Maitra Instagram profilePhoto courtesy: Rukmini Maitra Instagram profile

Q. How did you strike a balance as an actor between Nisha, a robot, and Isha, who is a human?

A. We don't have that comfort of shooting the human part for six months and getting into the robotic character for the next six. I was switching from one to the other. Bengal is one such work arena which toughens an actor for the worst. I believe any actor from Bengal can work all over the world but not the other way round considering the constraints in Tollywood. The switch from Isha to Nisha was time-taking because there was a lot of makeup. The two hours of getting into the look of Nisha from Isha was where I prepared myself mentally. Time management remains a big factor when an actor is working on such sets and characters. I had to keep that in mind and work accordingly.

Q. You have played a lot of period characters. How was stepping into a mainstream, commercial film?

A. One of my biggest reasons for opting for Boomerang or playing a robot was also the fact that I was doing way too many periodic characters like Binodini, Satyabati. I noticed a plethora of directors offering only periodic characters to me. I became aware of getting stereotyped and I wanted to break that. It was a blessing in disguise that Boomerang came my way because there would have been no better way to break away from stereotype than playing a robot and a double role. The opportunity came to me at the right time. I broke away the moment people were just about to keep me in a mould.

Photo courtesy: Rukmini Maitra Instagram profilePhoto courtesy: Rukmini Maitra Instagram profile

Q. You were often accused of being working with Dev only. Do you handle those flaks more efficiently now?

A. I never had the need to handle it. I see it as an inspiration. Me doing a film with Jeet and his production house is the best answer I could have probably given.

Q. Recently in an interview, Dev said he never intends to take you to the political campaigns. Is it a conscious approach from your side to stay away from politics?

A. I think Dev would be the best person to explain his statement. I believe people in life need to compartmentalise their work. I am an actor and my sole focus is in acting. It is a decision to not to get into something like that at this moment. But as a citizen, of course I have a strong political opinion which I am not afraid to put out but that doesn't mean I have to be a part of the rallies or the political programmes. Maybe it is not a conscious decision but a decision of sorts to focus on acting and not his part of the world that does not require me.

(Photo courtesy: Rukmini Maitra Instagram profile)

The writer is a Kolkata-based entertainment, sports and political correspondent with IBNS. He can be reached on thisissouvikghosh@gmail.com

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