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The Great Indian Family actress Bharati Perwani recalls her most memorable incidents during the shoot




Actress Bharati Perwani auditioned for quite a few films produced by Yash Raj Films before she finally landed the role of Raam Pyaari in The Great Indian Family directed by Vijay Krishna Acharya. In a candid conversation with Cine Blitz, the actress talks about the film and her acting journey so far.

How did you feel when you got to know that you were going to be a part of a YRF film?

When something new happens in my life, I have a tendency to make it eventful for myself. When I came to Bombay, the first ever intro that I gave was at Yash Raj Films. I got a call for Dum Laga Ke Haisha but it didn’t work out. I even got a call for Sui Dhaga but that too didn’t materialize. For Mardaani 2, Shanoo Sharma called me to meet her personally. The casting people somewhere knew me because I used to often give auditions. But that project also didn’t materialize for me.


Finally, I got a call in 2020, when everything was closed due to lockdown. They had asked for my self-tape as an audition. The next morning, I had to go to Kamshet with Atul Kumar’s group. I took a saree suitable for the part and learned my lines. A friend encouraged and helped me make the self-tape. I sent the tape to YRF and forgot about it.

Ten days later, after returning from Kamshet, I got a call from YRF that I was selected. I didn’t believe it at first but they gave me the confidence that I was an important part of the family in the film. I finally met Victor Sir (director Vijay Krishna Acharya).

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What are your most memorable incidents from the shooting of the film?

Firstly, I didn’t expect the cast members to be so accommodating and considerate. I was very nervous because The Great Indian Family was my first big commercial film. I was afraid to make a mistake. My character brief was that my character Raam Pyaari shares a great bond with Bua Ji played by Alka Amin. I talk a lot but during the shoot, I used to be quiet and keep it myself.

One day Alka Ji asked what I do in my spare time. I told her that I was learning to play the flute. We slowly started interacting. A few days before the shoot was going to end, she called me into the vanity van and gifted me a painting of Krishna playing the flute which she had made herself. I have that painting on my wall at home.


Secondly, the film was like a workshop for me to learn a lot about films from technicalities to acting with an ensemble cast. In the interval scene where Vicky Kaushal and his family part ways, the director had told me to walk in a particular way so that I am in my place in the frame. He told me a couple of times to move right-left. But every time I was getting hidden behind another actor. Finally the director said, “Hum kitni bhi koshish kar le Bharati ko toh frame mein aana hee nahin hai.” That scene taught me the technicalities of acting in front of a camera. That was a big learning for me.

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So, now, are you now more comfortable while facing the camera?

I enjoy it now. On stage, you can move as you like but for camera, you have to keep in mind your mark. I sometimes get stuck with those technicalities but I know that with time, I’ll become a pro.


How did your acting journey start?

I always wanted to do something different in life. I belonged to a locality that was similar to the locality seen in The Great Indian Family. I used to perform even when I was a child. I always had a fascination with appearing on screen. I used to think that films and plays were the realities of life.

When I came to Jaipur to study, I felt that dance could be the medium to express myself. I learned with my friends and started doing dance choreography. But it wasn’t fulfilling my aspirations.

One day, a very dear friend of mine took me to Deepak Gupta Sir’s theatre group where I saw an actress perform and I was mesmerized by that. My friend loaned me some money to join the theatre group. I did a lot of theatre in Jaipur including Nukkad Natak.

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I have a tendency to get bored easily. So, within 2-3 years, I wanted to move beyond Jaipur. In Jaipur, I attended a theatre festival by Kavalam Narayana Panicker from Kerala who used to do Sanskrit theatre. I was mesmerized by that and within seven days, I moved to Kerala to join his group. Panicker sir was gracious and generous enough to arrange accommodation and food for me. I stayed there for one year. I did Hindi theatre, Sanskrit theatre, Malayalam theatre there. Later, I got selected in the Madhya Pradesh School of Drama. Then I moved to Kolkata too. Finally, I moved to Bombay in September 2016. In October 2016, I joined Sharmistha Saha’s theatre group Qissa Kothi. Later, I worked with Mohit Takalkar and Atul Kumar.


Coming from a small town, have you ever felt intimidated or lost while living in a big city like Mumbai?

It hasn’t been about a big city. I have lived in Kerala where which is not a Hindi-speaking state. If I can live there for a year, I can live anywhere. But sometimes, you feel discouraged when you face so many rejections. Also, you start doing a lot of work to make ends meet like working in the art department, direction department, and casting department. Then you feel that you didn’t come to Mumbai to do this. I had a clear dream and ambition. Mumbai cannot confuse me. Otherwise, staying alone in a big city is not a problem for me.

Initially, I used to take rejections very personally. I have been to some fake auditions too and it really damaged my confidence that I am not capable of being an actor. I was very disappointed at that time.

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Tell us about your play Hunkaro. What is it about?

Hunkaro talks about hope. It has three stories. The play talks about what people went through during the pandemic and the lockdown. Initially, I was not a part of Hunkaro but I was aware of the play. I really wanted to work with Mohit Takalkar Sir. Seven years ago, during a brief interaction, Takalkar Sir and a friend of mine suggested that I go to the MP School of Drama.


I was sitting with a friend of mine when I got a call from Chirag who was an AD on the play. I had a strong intuition that the call was for me to do Hunkaro and it turned out to be that only. An actress had dropped out due to some reason so they asked me whether I would like to do the part. I was very keen to do the play so said yes. The form of this play is very different. There’s travel in the play and we have travelled a lot with this play.

When we performed at META, the atmosphere and audiences’ reactions were overwhelming. When I went to the green room, I had an emotional burst and cried. We won seven out of fifteen META awards. The response so far has been great. Sanya Malhotra came to watch our play. Shabana Azmi came to meet us backstage. Varun Grover wrote about the play. It has been an amazing journey so far.

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