The many shades of Amrita

Amrita Prasad
Monday, 22 July 2019

Amrita Puri, who will soon be seen in JudgeMentall Hai Kya, talks about women’s issues, the upcoming season of Four More Shots Please! and more

She looked endearing as the ‘behenji-turned-babe’ in her debut film Aisha. Soon she went on to do films like Blood Money and the much-acclaimed Kai Po Che. She has also made her present felt in the webspace with shows like Amazon PrimeVideo’s Four More Shots Please! and Made in Heaven. Amrita Puri, who will be seen in JudgeMentall Hai Kya, releasing this Friday, had a brief stint in theatre as an actor and writer and has also acted in Quasar Thakore Padamsee’s play Retellings View From The Stage. 

The actress has never failed to amaze her television audience with the characters she has played, whether it is Harleen Kaur in POW - Bandi Yuddh Ke or Charulata in Stories by Rabindranath Tagore. Her recent short film Suno with Sumeet Vyas was also received quite well. 

Although the actress prefers to keep the details about her character in the upcoming JudgeMentall Hai Kya under wraps, she says that she got kicked about it since it’s a suspense thriller.“The film is a comedy/suspense drama, a genre that has not been explored much in Hindi cinema and I found the script refreshing and different. Also, it is a genre I haven’t done before. I loved the approach Prakash Kovelamudi (the director) had in mind. My role and some of the scenes I have, had me most excited as a performer. The fact that I am featuring opposite Raj (Rajkummar Rao) also greatly excited me as he is a fantastic performer and a dear friend,” says Amrita.

Despite the fact that she doesn’t have too many scenes with Kangana, Amrita is very happy to be a part of a film featuring the Queen actress. “Most of my scenes are with Raj and I think he is super talented. I was so thrilled to be cast on-screen with him after Kai Po Che. It’s been so long and working with him was an absolute pleasure,” exclaims the actress.  

The title of the film was changed after the Indian Psychiatric Society (IPS) wrote a letter to the Central Board of Film Certification objecting against it as wells as the film’s posters. Amrita feels there was a lot of debate and time spent on the title but agrees that the decision to change the title was well thought out based on the feedback that they got. “Mental health is a very sensitive topic and due respect must be given to those suffering from any mental illness. It’s important to be sensitive when you are putting out images and text related to mental health,” she adds.

Medium doesn’t matter  
Theatre, films and webseries, Amrita’s worked in all mediums and enjoys it too. However, changing gears wasn’t so easy. She confesses, “The transition from theatre to film is something that I found tough first because I am not a trained actor. I was not aware of the technicalities and how one should perform for a camera versus a live audience. That being said, I love acting. It doesn’t matter which medium it is.” 

Currently shooting for the second season of Four More Shorts Please!, Amrita confirms that the series based on the lives of four women seeking liberation, happiness and love will have a third season too. “There are new developments in my character Kavya. It is interesting to play the same character and add new layers to the persona. I certainly believe that more content with women protagonists should be created. It is exciting and something that is lacking in the entertainment space. However, the subject should be progressive. On Indian television, most shows restrict women to home and kitchen. Equality is the key word — equal work, equal opportunities and equal pay. It is about time,” she feels.

Suno, the short film featuring her, highlighted domestic violence and marital rape. Amrita says, “My belief from the information I have gathered over time is that domestic violence and marital rape are both very much prevalent in India. We need more awareness and information circulated about both. I think Suno should have had a ‘call to action’ as part of the end credits and information about NGOs or organisations dealing with such issues. Marital rape is especially tricky. Firstly, it’s difficult to prove and secondly, a lot of people do not even consider it to be rape. I do not think enough women are coming forward and speaking about it. There needs to be a safe environment for them to do so. If women feel that they will be attacked instead of supported, they are not going to come forward. My only hope is that this mindset, attitude and environment changes and changes quickly.” 

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