‘Zoya Akhtar is a great team player,’ says Pravishi Das – Exclusive – Times of India

Actress Pravishi Das continues to be a part of impactful projects, from Rang De Basanti to Chup Revenge of the Artist. In Made in Heaven Season 2, she played Tara’s sister and received high praise for her performance. She’s definitely riding high on her success.
In an exclusive interview with ETimes, Pravishi spoke at length about her experience of working with Zoya Akhtar in MIH 2, OTT space and her future aspirations.
How was your experience working in Made In Heaven 2?
It was wonderful to be back on a set where the cast and crew were delightful, to put it mildly! We had enjoyed making S1 a lot and it received so much love, that I’m sure everyone involved was ecstatic to be back. In the interim four years, everywhere I went the only thing I was asked was, “When is Season 2 coming out ?”
The challenge of course was shooting through the pandemic. My first day of shoot in S2 was in Delhi and it was in a busy market place, so those logistics were stressful. Apart from that, the writers and directors of MIH 2 are so skilled and talented, it’s a privilege to work with them. My character remained within the tight family unit of the mother, sister, husband and it was fun reviving and developing that same family chemistry.
How is Zoya Akhtar as a director?
Zoya is a great team player. She has tremendous regard for her cast and crew. It comes through in all the big and small things. She has immense clarity and is very succinct in her direction. For an actor like me, that’s bliss.
Have your parents been supportive of your career choice about acting?
I grew up with my mother and sister in Delhi, pretty much like my character Karuna’s family structure. Of course mine is a family of professionals who knew nothing about show business. My mother’s one condition was completing my Master’s degree, after that I could do as I pleased. I won her heart though by putting in all the hard work in the Delhi theatre world for a few years after college and creating a repertoire of work there. So then she was convinced that this was for real and not a pipe dream.
From amongst all the actors you have shared screen space with so far, whom did you have the most fun with?
I’d have to say Maninee De (who plays Pravishi’s mother in MIH 1 & 2). We’re both from Delhi, both have active spiritual practices and study psychology, so the curiosity was endless. We had far too much to talk about. We ended up travelling together too. That’s always a great way to tell, travel either bonds you forever or leaves you as sworn enemies (laughs)!
How has your experience in the industry been so far?
I have to say I’ve been very fortunate. Firstly to be protected having worked with truly the best people, given the disturbing experiences some people have gone through. Whether it is the theatre, film, web shows or advertising I’ve had the chance to grow and learn from the most talented and the brightest minds in the business. I can’t bet on the length of my part but can certainly be grateful and give the best to the opportunities I get. Starting with Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Anurag Kashyap, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, R Balki and now Zoya Akhtar.
Which is that one film or project that changed your career or is extremely close to your heart?
No Smoking with Anurag Kashyap. He is a rare commodity in a basically feudal industry. He truly is the most egalitarian person I’ve met professionally. He has an ear for anyone he can learn from, hear something new or fascinating from. He doesn’t stand on titles or ceremonies. He genuinely seems to want everyone to do as much good work as possible. He will unhesitatingly put you in touch with other filmmakers and engage with you completely as an equal, that’s quite uplifting and endearing.
OTT has levelled the playing field for everyone. What are your thoughts on the same as an actor?
I don’t believe it as yet a level playing field or if it will ever be, however it has certainly opened up more than ever before. The star system is pretty set and it’s a tiny island. It has its huge business value but what the OTT platform has done is opened up diverse content for an increasingly diverse audience. Filmmakers I feel are simply responding to that. It is the audience that seems to now lean more towards representational than only aspirational. Who gets to decide what is aspirational and is that only one thing or can it be many? Look at the hugest theatrical hit Barbie. The conversation is entirely about resonance, that which is a common yet suppressed experience and the powers that be, will have to speak to it. OTT is undisputed in taking that lead.
Do you have a genre or a kind of role that you haven’t done before and want to do in the future?
Biopics and comedy! Yes I’d love some of that please.

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