When director Kunal Kohli brought this topic to me, he clearly said that he wants to make the story of a 40-year-old single mother and we do not want the way the society dictates to single mothers, divorcees or separated women. That is, he dictates these women only as parents, let us make such a story. Society will allow such women to get married, but if they want to go into a casual relationship instead of marriage, then it is a big taboo for the society. I found this topic and its casting quite interesting. Yes, I had some reservations, which I discussed with the director. To be honest, there are very few main stream actresses who will do this role. There is a hesitation as to whether it is too bold. I have an image, I am someone’s mother, wife, should I do this on screen. But at the same time, I also thought that despite being a mother and wife, I thought of becoming an actress, so why shouldn’t I play such a character and why can’t a stream actress do it in one?
What is your opinion about the society that molds divorced, single mother or separated women into a framework that they cannot have physical or emotional need?
There have been many great actresses before me, like Ratna Pathak Shah did a very beautiful film, Lipstick Under My Burkha and what was her character? After getting old, they also have their own physical desire, but it is generally thought that if a woman is elderly, then she will not have any desire. Whereas as women we know this is not true. We women also want to feel sensuous. We like that our husband or opposite sex makes us feel sexy. If you are feeling such a thing, then there is nothing wrong with it. The problem is that the society has told us that your thinking is wrong. Through the character of Vasu, I want to normalize this feeling. Vasu is not a free type woman. She also feels nervous and nervous when she enters a dating scene for the first time after the separation of 19 years of marriage, she does not believe in any quick sex.
Be it sex or any other issue, women generally have to go through gender inequality, have you ever faced any kind of inequality?
I have been in this industry for 18 years and we here always talk about pay disparity. Where female actresses get paid much less than their male counterparts and it is not that we work less. Usually, actresses are called early on the sets, the argument being that they have to put on make-up. If the hero will do a 10-hour shift, then the heroine has to do a 12-hour shift. But there is a big difference in wages. Secondly, our big superstars insist that their heroine should be half their age. You must have rarely seen that a 50-year-old hero can pair up with a 50-year-old heroine. But a lot has changed in the last 5 years. Very good roles are being written for actresses beyond 30 on OTT. I am also surprised to see the strong roles that I am getting at this age.
What do you personally think about casual sex?
I have been in a very long relationship in my life. Now I think it’s good. I have never had a short term or casual relationship in my life. But when I look at today’s generation, it seems very clear to me in terms of relationships. Today’s generation is also open minded and thinks that it is not necessary to marry the first man I meet. If both of them agree in this, then it is not wrong either. This is the reason why dating sites are popular today.
Ever felt like joining a dating app for an adventure or experience? Dating apps like Gleeden are for married people.
No. I have been married for 11 years and before that there were no dating apps. Talking about myself, I have never been curious to go and see these dating apps. Actually, it has become our habit that we measure everyone with the same tape, it is our mistake. We tend to be judgmental quickly, but we don’t know what lies behind the closed doors of their lives. This is the reason why I am never judgmental towards anyone in this matter. Should a married person go alone or go together? So it could be their personal choice. They may have reasons for that.
When did you have the most proud and inferior moment as a woman?
My sister is India’s first helicopter pilot, Indian Air Force, so I feel very proud to have sister raised her flag in male dominated field. My daughter has also made me feel proud many times at the young age of 9. Today I am a producer. In the first 1-2 years of being a producer, I found that when I went for a meeting, everyone would be happy to see a beautiful woman, but no one wanted to talk about business with me. He wondered what business he would talk about now? What is the understanding of this business? Today I am an entrepreneur myself. I have my own skin care line. I have my own business, I am a producer myself, but I had to fight a lot to reach this place. When a producer-director from my own film industry used to talk to me as a producer, I would think who would be behind this business talker. I used to have a lot of humiliation at that time.
How has motherhood been for you?
Quite tyring, challenging but at the same time very satisfying. I am happy that I have only one daughter. I can give time to him too, family, husband and my career too. I never discriminated between boys and girls with my daughter. Whatever I want to teach him, I do it myself.
How does your husband Mahesh Bhupathi complement you?
He is very different from me. I am very blunt, whereas he is very calm and stable. He is very ambitious, but keeps the family ahead. This is the reason why I am able to make such roles and different types of content. They are very secure. Do they know what I am? What is our marriage?
Lara Dutta, who garnered praise for her role of Indira Gandhi in ‘Bell Bottom’, is in the news these days with a web series based on bold and modern subjects like ‘Hickups and Hookups’. In this series, she plays the role of a single mother. In this special encounter, Lara talks openly about the dating app, casual sex, motherhood, gender inequity, proud moments and her husband Mahesh Bhupathi.