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A role for life, a life for role

Urmila Matondkar cried reading the story of "Pinjar" and spent sleepless nights to understand and live the character. RANA A. SIDDIQUI speaks to her aboard Shatabdi Express to New Delhi, away from media glare...


SHE HAS wiped her tears. Got in control her sinking heart. Has managed to overcome overwhelming emotions. She is now cool, relaxed and balanced. Hence, is back to usual friendly smile. She is travelling on Shatabdi Express quietly reading a book, which she won't leave even when sumptuous food is placed before her. Someone has said it right. If you are overwhelmed with something, cry it out. Tears are the best solutions to make a heart feel light, content too. Only a couple of hours before she boarded this train for New Delhi, she had cried her emotions out in front of scribes and others talking about "the feel of Partition" while working in Chandraprakash Dwivedi-directed "Pinjar", the famous novel by Amrita Pritam. She plays "Puro" in the film, a victim of Partition, who finds way to rehabilitate herself.

"Before I played Puro, I did not know how important will it become in my personal life. It is not easy to digest the fact that the women from both the countries suffered so much. Even while working on sets, it became difficult for me to detach myself from the character despite the fact that I have not seen Partition days, but only heard about it," she says.



Urmila Matondkar... ."Pinjar" offers the role of a lifetime. Photo: R.V. Moorthy.

For her, detachment from the film was difficult. When Dwivedi came to her with the film script, she said: "I will not leave this film at any cost, take all my dates and time," though Dwivedi had also gone to some "bigger names" for this role. But the interest and energy that she showed to work in this film was "lacking in them all". Which only made Dwivedi feel that literature is so little read in Bollywood that a story drawn out of it means just a story for most. And the character they are asked to play are "just roles".

"For me it wasn't a role. It was a human being who made me realise there is so much to do in life than just boasting around. Sooner we understand the real meaning of Independence, the better it is. And tell me, how many such human beings you meet in everyday life?" Urmila leaves rhetoric to ponder over.

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