Post “Rang Rasiya”, Nandana Dev Sen has got several new offers but the actress says she’s keen to work only in films that are unique in every way.
Sen played the role of legendary Indian painter Raja Ravi Varma’s muse Sugandha in the Ketan Mehta directed period film. The role of the 19th century painter was enacted by Randeep Hooda.
“I have read many scripts in the last year since the release of ‘Rang Rasiya’, which brought me several new offers for work. At this point, I’m keen to work only in films that are unique in every way, films about which I’m passionate enough that I’d happily take a break from my multiple writing commitments,” says the actress who is also an author of several books besides being a social activist.
“So, I’m choosing between two (film) projects, one in India and one in the UK,” she says.
She has completed a script recently, set in the interconnected worlds of cinema, journalism, and politics in Mumbai.
“It has already gained quite a lot of traction internationally as a script, and I’ve also been asked to develop this into a novel. I’m very excited about this story because it is as universal as it is deeply human,” Sen told PTI.
“It’s a father-daughter story about second chances, and making amends – about trauma and memory, about celebrity and responsibility, about power and its abuse, and about family and forgiving,” she says.
According to Sen, her experience in films helps her hugely in visualising her book for children.
“I literally break each book down into a storyboard that is more cinematic than literary. In my writing I also follow many of my basic rules as an actor, such as ‘show, not tell’, find visual ways to convey each emotion, reveal something new about the character in every scene, and so on. I’m sure I’d have approached my children’s books very differently had I not had a background in film,” she says.
Sen started writing “when I was a child, long before I
became an actor, and I never stopped; even during my busiest acting periods, I published narrative essays, guest editorials and Op Eds”.
In her life, acting and writing have always complemented each other.
“My experience as a writer helped me ‘create’, in my own way, the characters I portrayed – their back story, their physical traits, their emotional history, their strengths and weaknesses, the silent dialogues in their head.
“That is, everything about the character that you don’t see in the film, but that directly informs who she is. The first thing I do when I play any character is to imagine and write all of this out for myself. Slowly, the character starts taking shape – and eventually, she takes over,” she says.
Sen is equally passionate about both media as she believes in the transformative capacity of cinema as much as she trusts in the power of books, especially children’s books.
“Films and books both have the power to change the way we look at the world, and in doing so, they can go a very long way in changing the world,” she says.
She had recently come out with a book on children titled “Mambi and the Forest Fire”, which is a colourful jungle adventure about courage, friendship, and self-confidence – about unearthing the unique talents buried in every child.