Plabita Borthakur recently shot to fame with her stellar performance in Lipstick Under My Burkha. Always a multi-talented personality right from her school days, she is also the singer/songwriter for the band Manu & Chow. She made her debut in the Aamir Khan-starrer, PK, playing Anushka Sharma’s sister. We caught up with her in this interview about her future projects and her thoughts on her career so far. You can check out her website here!
Could you please tell us about the current project you’re involved in, or what kind of movies that you’re looking to be involved in at this juncture in your career?
I have recently worked on two films. The first one is called Ahaan, which is about a boy with down syndrome. It’s a sweet and endearing story, and I loved working on it with actors Arif Zakaria and Niharika Singh. The second film, which hasn’t been named yet, is a coming of age drama, set in rural Rajasthan and Gujarat starring Sanjay Mishra, Naveen Kasturia, Vijay Raj among other actors.
As for the kind of movies I would like to be involved in, I love experimenting so I would love to play different characters. What matters the most is, it should be an interesting script.
Lipstick Under My Burkha made quite a strong statement for Indian women and also exposed the deep-rooted sexism prevalent in our society. Looking back, what has your experience been as a woman involved in this movie? The movie impacted a lot of women in India, and I’d like to know how it impacted you.
The film has made quite an impact on me. There have been multiple women from all over, writing and talking about how much they could relate to the characters in the film and the film overall. The entire journey with this film has helped me grow a lot. The interviews during the promotions always turned into discussions and those have educated me about a lot of issues I was otherwise unaware of. An interesting thing I learnt about myself in the process is that I myself am not as liberated as I had thought to be.
The recent allegations of sexual harassment against Harvey Weinstein reminds me of that cold sardonic line delivered by Joe Mantell to Jack Nicholson in the climax of Chinatown (1974): “Forget it Jake, it’s Chinatown!” meaning that this is how it is in that place and things are better forgotten. This case also launched the Me Too campaign on Facebook which I believe is a beautiful way of women standing in solidarity against this issue, and the number of women coming up with such revelations doesn’t shock me at all. Sexual harassment is omnipresent in this world and not just restricted to any industry as such. What are your thoughts on this?
No one can deny that sexual harassment is omnipresent. It is disturbing when we discuss it or think about it, but at the end of the day, everyone’s just so used to it being this way. It happens in families, happens between married couples, in the streets, at work, everywhere and it has been happening for centuries but wasn’t or still isn’t talked about. I’m glad at least such conversations are beginning in the public forum. Women are taking steps against it and not simply letting it go thinking that’s how it is. I hope this change keeps continuing and evolving.
You’re also a part of the band Manu & Chow. Could you tell us how you’re enjoying your music with them currently?
Manu & Chow is my passion project. I love music and it’s my go to at any moment. But lately I’ve not been able to devote as much time as I’d like to the band due to my other ongoing projects.
I’ve always felt movies to be a strictly personal experience, varying with each and every other person, and I don’t believe movies should be of a certain ‘type’ or for a certain ‘audience’. So could you please tell us how movies have impacted your life?
I believe any good story portrayed interestingly makes a good movie. But I do believe in types, not for the filmmaker to look out for, but for when I want to watch a film. I often feel like watching realistic stories and beautiful narrations but sometimes I also feel like watching slapstick comedies, thriller or silly rom-coms depending on my mood.
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