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High Five

The five actresses of the Marathi film Sarva Line Vyasta AahetSmita Shewale, Rani Agrawal, Sanskruti Balgude, Neetha Shetty and Hemangi Kavi – talk to Padma Iyer about working together and their experiences while making this comedy

It is not often that we have five actresses in the same film and all of them doing an interview together! How did each one of you become a part of Sarva Line Vyasta Aahet?

Hemangi Kavi (HK): I was the last one to be cast in the film. The makers had cast someone else, but that did not work out and the director approached me. My first question was of course with so many actresses, what scope would I have? But the way my role was narrated to me and the freedom that I was given to explore the character, gave me the confidence to play Priyanka in this film.

Neetha Shetty (NS): Saurabh (Gokhale) and I had worked together earlier. So when he got to know that the makers of the film were looking for actresses, he recommended my name. The director Pradip (Mestry) sir called me and briefed me on the role. Of course, as an actress, you always want to know with so many actresses how would you stand out? So, I asked for the script to be sent to me. I read it and realised that every character was justified. And the film sounded like fun and so I came on board to play Sayali.

Sanskruti Balgude (SB): I think I was the second-last person to be cast in the film. I was given the script to read. I had worked with Saurabh before, so I called him to find out what he thought about the film. They had already started shooting at the time. When I asked him, he said it was a good project and that I was welcome to be part of it.

I was relieved but at the same time I was anxious about doing comedy. My character is Tanvi and she is a photographer. So I had to start from how to hold a camera, understand the body language and all that.

On top of that, like they all said, five actresses – how would each character be justified? I expressed this to Pradip sir as well and I told him that I was doing this film only because of my trust in him. Also, the comedy in the film is situational and I am a fan of that. We all had a blast. It was like a girls’ pyjama party.

Rani Agrawal (RA): I had never thought I would do a Marathi film. My Hindi film had just released when this offer came along. But then the character was of a non-Marathi girl, Jigna. Plus, the role was opposite Siddharth Jadhav, so there was no question of saying no. Doing this film was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I got to meet some amazing people and learn so much.

Smita Shewale (SS): Pradip approached me for this film two months before the shooting started. He called me to narrate the story. I said I was pressed for time, so could we could do it later? He said he needed just 5 minutes.

What was supposed to be a story brief ended up being the narration of the entire script. He didn’t just talk about my role, but explained everyone else’s characters and how I would be placed in the narrative. So I was clear about everything and I agreed to do the film.

Were there any challenges while essaying your characters?

HK: I wanted to do a grey character, and, at the same time I didn’t want it to be intense or too comic. Thankfully, that was taken care of in the dubbing. There are a few of my lines which could have been beeped, but in the film my mouth is covered, so those lines are garbled and end up being funny. So while doing that, I was a little worried about how people would react.

NS: The climax of the film was a night shoot and all of us were there in a single frame. We had to perform the scene with ease and comfort and at the same time look natural. To get that right was a task. I think it came out well because we gelled well off screen.

SB: It wasn’t very different from what I had done before but I had never attempted comedy. Regardless of how may sitcoms I had watched, I was not sure I would be able to perform in one.

Thankfully, Saurabh and I had worked together before and we share a good bond off screen. And there were Siddharth Jadhav and Hemangi tai who are so good at doing comedy. When your work turns out well, it is because of the team you are working with.

RA: I knew that with the kind of people I was working with, there would be a lot of improvisations on the set. No matter how much I rehearsed the script, there would be something new during the shooting. Most of my scenes were with Siddharth Jadhav. I had issues with the language but he told me to go with the flow. But, yes, the language was challenging for me.

SS: There are no deliberate comedy scenes for my character Arpita; the situations create the humour. I found a couple of scenes challenging and they were with Siddharth. It is not an easy task to match his energy level, his comic timing and to react to him. I feel scared because there is a certain ease and spontaneity to his performance. It is like that with Hemangi as well. The roles I have done to date have been very simple and sad. So when you working with actors like these, you want to at least try to match up to their level.

Finally, what do you want the audience to take back from the film?

NS: Just have a good time, that is all. We just want the audience to be entertained. After a long and stressful day, all you want to do is laugh and be happy.

HK: There is also a cryptic message in the film that they can take back as well.

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