By Amrita Paul
Preeti Gupta wanted to be an actress for as long as she can remember. When she was just six, she was asked by her teacher what she wanted to become when she grows up.
“Sridevi. I told my teacher I wanted to be Sridevi,” says the actress, laughing.
Preeti, who stars in the critically acclaimed film, Unfreedom, as the closeted homosexual protagonist, Leela, adds that she was naturally drawn to the character because of the kind of turmoil she was going through.
“As actors, we yearn to portray the human condition and suffering and in this film, I got to explore an alternate sexuality as well. Looking back, it feels very gratifying because a several people from the LGBT community reached out to me, saying that they were moved and touched after watching the film,” says the actress, an alumnus of The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute in New York.
When it comes to how homosexuality is perceived the country, she adds, “I have seen that the urban educated crowds are more supportive in this regard, but the rural hinterlands still reek of homophobia. Acceptance is prevalent only in small pockets.”
Looking up to the likes of Tabu, Natalie Portman and Meryl Streep, Preeti, just one feature film old, wants to essay characters, who irrespective of the duration they appear for, bring something to the table.
When it comes to depicting sex and sexuality on Indian celluloid, she observes that Indian filmmakers find it difficult to strike a balance.
“On most occasions, actors are either uncomfortable, or the scenes end up looking titillating and graceless. I think we are still finding our space in that regard.
“As someone trained in method acting, it helped me in Unfreedom, to research my character extensively, delve in to her background and live the story as it happened. I also developed a rapport with my co-actor during the rehearsals because a comfort factor is essential to make intimate scenes look as real as possible,” she adds.
While Preeti says, she is open for any kind of roles; she is also keen on choosing them meticulously. The next five years, seem like a mystery to her, which she is keen to unravel on the go.
“Apart from acting, I am also directing a play, Owl and Pussycat, which will open next May. I will also be working with the organization Inner Katha, on gender sensitization in corporate spaces through the use of theatre,” she adds.
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