Actress Esha Deol Takhtani has turned producer for her recently released short film Ek Duaa on Voot Select. The actress talks about wanting to do meaningful roles, donning the producer’s hat and dancing which she thinks no one from her family can escape. Read her candid conversation with Bharati Dubey exclusively for Cine Blitz.
CB: Hi Esha! Long time since I have heard from you! And now that you are taking up work full time and that too such a subject (in Ek Duaa), and to turn a producer with such a subject, what prompted you for such a move?
Esha: Yes, it (Ek Duaa) was a script that just came my way when I decided to get back into acting. It was something that really pulled at my heart strings and nudged me to feel that just being an actor with such a subject wouldn’t satisfy me. I thought that if I ever turn a producer, then it should be with such a content-driven film. This was it and this is how Bharat-Esha Films (production house) was born.
I really want everybody to watch this film as it’s beautiful and it’s just the kind of cinema that I want to make as it will leave a positive impact on the viewer’s mind.
Also read: It was a personal crisis that made Vivaan Arora take three years break in showbiz and rush back home
CB: So, do you intend to make more socially relevant cinema as Ek Duaa is definitely one with a strong social message?
Esha: Well, that depends. Like I said I listen to what my heart tells me and this film too was a result of me doing what my heart was telling me to do. So, as time progresses, we are looking at producing good content and we have a group of people who are there to evaluate the content from a viewer’s perspective. Hence, we hope that we are able to come up with something good from time-to-time.
CB: In real life, have you ever come across such cases where this happens?
Esha: Yes, this definitely happens in real life and there have been many such cases where such instances occur. It’s just that some people talk about it openly while some shun away from doing so in the open. This is a topic which should be talked about more often.
As far as I’m concerned, I have never really faced any such thing. Perhaps because of the kind of child I was. I was a very headstrong kid who knew what she wanted to do from the beginning. All my choices were my own – good or bad. I was a real tomboy and that hasn’t really changed – that little girl is somewhere in me even now.
CB: Will we get to see more of you on-screen? What was your parents’ reaction on seeing the kind of film you were planning to do?
Esha: Yes, I am getting a lot of scripts that are propelling me to get up and go back to work. But this time my focus will be more towards the quality and not the quantity of work that I do.
And my parents were not aware of the kind of film I was working on for so long. When they got to know about the subject, they felt really proud that I was taking up such a crucial subject, especially given the fact that this will be the first movie under my own banner.
CB: Since your debut in 2002, how do you think the female characters have changed? Do you think that cinema has come a long way since then in terms of the roles being essayed for female artists?
Esha: In 2002, you know I was a teenager – all of 18 years – myself and so I took up those glitzy, glamorous roles that had little to do with being meaningful or impactful. But given the place where I am currently in my life after all these years, I am now inclined towards roles with a deeper meaning. Also, with the boom in OTT platforms, the variety of shows and movies being made has given a lot of choices to girls like me who are wanting to go out and work. And if you notice the kind of roles my mom did back in the ‘80s when she had me and my sister, those were always women-centric roles with more depth in them.
CB: Also tell us how do you make time to indulge in classical dances, especially Bharatanatyam? Do you feel there is a threat to classical dancing in India given that there is a major shift towards Bollywood dance?
Esha: Well, that is a value that has been instilled in us by our mother and grandmother since we were kids. So that parampara and sanskriti were given to us; we are just taking forward the legacy. I also performed when I was about 5 years old and I have always loved the stage and dancing. I’m also hoping that my girls develop an inclination towards it because in our family you cannot escape dancing.
As for the latter part of your question, there are new forms of dances emerging now. But classical dance forms are the foundation of dance and classical dancers are passing on the legacy to the younger generation, the way I see my mother doing. Currently, due to Covid, our live performances are on hold. But we hope to do some live shows once things go back to normal.