Amit Sadh: Barot House helped me make peace with my own father
Amit Sadh and Manjari Fadnnis discuss their roles as a troubled couple in Bug Bhargava’s murder mystery Barot House
Earlier this month, Bugs Bhargava’s Barot House started streaming on ZEE5. The murder mystery struck reviewers as a twisted genre flick with a potent emotional core. Supposedly inspired by real events, the story revolves around one Barot family. Amit Sadh and Manjari Fadnnis play parents to four children. They reside in a big mansion near the coast of Daman — a rare location for a Hindi film. Their idyllic existence is tragically interrupted when one of the daughters is found murdered, followed by another. The suspects range from family members to a resentful neighbour. As the suspense builds, the film morphs into a gruesome psychodrama about paternity and grief.
Amit, who received praise for his portrayal of a troubled father, ranks the role as his most personal one. “I shared a complex relationship with my own father. He died when I was really young. It took years of understanding myself — and how stupid and crippled I am — that I could make peace with my father. It was only then that I started seeing the good in him. This realisation also helped me build this character. It was a healing process in a way,” Amit says.
The actor admits he is instinctively drawn to damaged characters. “The process of acting is a psychiatrist who pays you,” he says, “For me, the real life heroes are people who are transparent. Who acknowledge their imperfections and have the courage to be disliked. When I play such characters on screen, I get to explore both the darkness and light in my personality.”
After Barot House, Amit will be reprising his role as inspector Kabir Sawant in Breathe season 2. The Amazon Prime show will feature Abhishek Bachchan and Nithya Menen as new cast members. “We have finished shooting Breathe 2. The show is in post-production. I know audiences have been waiting for a second season for a while. I am trying to cut out the excitement but the show will definitely meet all expectations.”
Manjari Fadnnis made her Bollywood debut in Rok Sako To Rok Lo (2004). Outside of Hindi, the actor has appeared in Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and Marathi films. Barot House marks her first venture in the digital space. As Mrs Bhavana Barot, Manjari steals the show as a grieving mother suspected of cheating on her husband. “My process involves tapping into my imagination and figuring out backstory of the character — when was she born? what were her aspirations as a child? Then I started connecting these factors to my entry point in the film,” Manjari shares. “Barot House was a particularly challenging project because it was drawn from real life. I was portraying emotions — rather disturbing ones — that someone else has gone through.”
Manjari picks out the scene where she walks back with the first child’s dead body as the most affecting. “Bugs wanted a distinct animalistic scream for that scene. Everyday, I would send him at least three new screams via voice notes. But of course, it all came out instinctively on the day of the shoot. We canned the shot in a single take — I would have died if I had to do that again.”
Barot House features standout turns by child actors Aaryan Menghji, Kiearra Soni and Kishaa Arora. “The kids were a delight,” Manjari notes. “Before we went floors, they were counselled about the intense nature of the film. The team ensured the sets remained conducive to children. Aaryan, especially, is an intelligent and talented performer. He would always give more to a scene than required.” Asked if they intended Barot House as a cautionary tale for parents (a key element revolves the partial treatment of children in households), Manjari says, “In retrospect, yes. I hope somewhere, in the middle of all the mystery, the film manages to tell something to parents.”