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Verve People
March 16, 2005

Actress By Persuasion

Text by Swatantra Chakravarty. Photograph by Akash Mehta

Konkona Sensharma has an immaculate pedigree…and she polishes it to a blinding shine with formidable talent. Daughter of the critically acclaimed actor-director, Aparna Sen, the actress won a National Award, when she was barely into her 20s. And with each celluloid appearance she has raised the bar. Verve catches up with the multilingual artiste, who continues to steal the limelight with her recent bravura acts in the little big films, Amu and Page 3

It is three in the afternoon and Konkona has just returned home from a book release. The previous night she had been up till 4 am, reading and rehearsing. Casually dressed in a pair of white trousers and a sequinned white kurti, with a black shawl thrown around her slim shoulders, Konkona looks way younger than her self-declared 26 years.

She settles into a comfortable corner on the settee and wraps the shawl tighter. “I feel colder than most people,” she smiles. The coffee on the centre table is welcome warmth but with a low calorie sweetener, thank you. “I have suddenly discovered the virtues of these packets and diet colas!”

Konkona has her hands full, at least till mid-year. She is currently basking in the positive reviews of Shonali Bose’s Amu and Madhur Bhandarkar’s Page 3, is also dubbing for Siddhartha Srinivasan’s Amavas, rehearsing for mom, Aparna Sen’s 15, Park Avenue and desperately trying to squeeze in dates for Mira Nair’s The Namesake, but not quite succeeding.

“Films happened quite by chance. I was hanging around the sets of my mother’s film, Indira, one day. The unit had been searching for a boy to play a role and had finally found one, but he began crying on the sets. Exasperated, my mother just had my hair cut and made me face the camera!”

“If it was a really great director, I would just say take me and then think of the other things!” Though she grew up on a diet of greats – Satyajit Ray, Akira Kurosawa – Konkona says she still enjoys fun flicks like Mr India, Main Hoon Na and intense dramas like Masoom. Would she do a MHN? “I would choose a film depending on the director. Then it would be the script and finally the role.”

“I would like to take up directing but I find it far too difficult. Life is just one whirlwind. I don’t know if I have the maturity to handle something like direction that is so all consuming.” Konkona sinks deeper into the settee, and looks even younger and more vulnerable. “I feel I am stuck at 17. The fact that I am all of 26 keeps hitting me suddenly. I am terrified of turning 30!”

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