I don't care about reviews or trolls: Shweta Tripathi
The Masaan actor, who is making her Tamil debut with this week's release, Mehandi Circus, talks about her script choices and more
After warming our collective hearts as Shaalu Gupta in Masaan (2015), actor Shweta Tripathi followed suit with a brilliant portrayal of a conflicting character in Haraamkhor (2017). This Friday, she will make her Tamil debut with Mehandi Circus, in which she plays a human target in a knife-throwing act of a travelling circus. Shweta's script choices are clearly anything but run-of-the-mill. "I want people to believe that if I am part of a project, then it must be interesting. I don't care about tags like commercial cinema and independent cinema. All I want is to experiment, and not get bored with what I do," says the actor, who is now basking in the success of her web series, Laakhon Mein Ek Season 2.
Not too keen on getting slotted into categories, straddling the worlds of cinema and the digital space offers Shweta the right opportunities to experiment. "If a project excites me, I become a part of it. I do not look at the length of the role. It could be just a role with two dialogues. As long as my eyes light up after hearing the narration," she says, adding that working with the right team is equally important for her. "That is one of the primary reasons why I became part of Mehandi Circus. When I knew that Raju Murugan had written the film, and when the director and producer came to meet me in Mumbai, I just knew I wanted to do this film. I am all about recognising vibes, and when I like the people, the story, and my character, I just say yes."
What about difficulties with Tamil? "As an actor, I am greedy, and don't want to limit myself to a single language. The downside with being brought up in Delhi though is, we speak only Hindi or English, and picking up another language becomes difficult. However, when I started acting, I decided that exploring different languages is as important as exploring different roles," she says.
Impressively, Shweta has dubbed for her role as Mehandi in this Saravana Rajendran directorial. Right from finding herself a Tamil tuition teacher to attending workshops in Mumbai and Chennai, the actor has apparently done her best to ensure authenticity.
"We rehearsed a lot. I used to sit with anyone who was available and say my written lines again and again. When you are acting in a language you don't know, you tend to concentrate more on lipsyncing, and not on what you are saying, but I also wanted to be sure of the meaning of my dialogues," she says. "Also, I didn't want to throw my co-actor (Madhampatty Rangaraj) off by saying something random." She further adds that being a part of Mehandi Circus helped fulfill her childhood dream of being part of the fascinating world of circuses.
When I point out that this is her second love story since Masaan, Shweta quickly interjects saying her film with Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Haraamkhor, was a love story too in its own way. "Both Mehandi Circus and Haraamkhor are love stories. But Mehandi Circus has more lighter moments. It is a beautiful love story about how a guy with a music shop makes a difference to this circus girl, and how society, caste system, and family comes in the way. It is a reflection of the world you live in," says Shweta, who is now in talks with filmmakers for more Tamil projects.
In her career so far, Shweta has been part of many offbeat projects that have run into hot water due to their controversial and bold themes. Do the acerbic reactions on social media affect her choices? "I don't really care about reviews or trolls. I am here to do my job. Tomorrow, if you tell me you didn't like Mirzapur or the Trip series, I am okay with that. I don't get affected by people's right to their opinions."
Did she ever wonder what made a Tamil filmmaker go to such lengths to get her on board for Mehandi? "It was pretty clear to the makers that their titular character be played by the Masaan girl. After being signed up for the film, I called up director Neeraj Ghaywan and thanked him, because there are so many projects I have got because of Shaalu Gupta and Masaan."