It has been one jolly ride for Ira Dubey. From theatre to television to films, she has done it all. While theatre has given her great recognition as an actress, films have seen very less of her amazing acting talent. Being a daughter of one of the most ardent actresses of our times, Ira said there is no added pressure that she carries on herself.
Listening to Ira was like listening to an independent, bold, confident voice of today’s woman. Read what she has to say about her new film MCream, how she thought it was an ambitious project and how she fell in love it with the passing time.
Q- You have had a decent journey as an actor, with more than five films till now. All of them had you playing important but second-fiddle characters. M Cream looks to be different in that regard. Talk about it.
A- M Cream is a unique film. It is definitely an independent film. I feel a lot of young people will relate to it. To simply put it, it is a coming of age story. These four friends are on a road-trip. They are on a verge of finishing college and enter a new world. The kind of life choices they make, the kind of things they believe in and how those things are questioned is what the story deals with. How life changes for the teens when they actually become adults is reflected by these four characters. How they think about it and deal with it. It’s the journey of these four characters. I don’t think India has seen a film like this before. I am not saying this because it’s in English and we had a mixed crew for the film but because it’s a new concept.
Q- Were there any apprehensions with the film for the fact that a 23-year-old director approached you for this?
A- When I first met Agneya, he had come with a size of a very fat novel. He gave it to me and said this is my script and this is going to be my first feature film and I am funding it. I was just staring at him and thinking ‘Yeah, okay, good luck with that’. It was one of those really bizarre and surreal moments and I was little bit disbelieving in his abilities. But later on, my impression of this guy changed completely. I was a little sceptical at first but when I read the script, I fell in love with it. I also told him that he was being a little ambitious with it. It happens with the first time directors or actors that they try to think extraordinary in their first project. But gradually, I saw it all happening when we started shooting.
Drug is only a plot device in M Cream- Agneya Singh
Q- The way M Cream has been portrayed till now. It calls itself a stoner film, a first of its kind in India. Is it just drugs or there is more to it?
A- There is certainly more to it. That is just a context of it. It’s not just drugs. What I loved was the mood of the film, which is beautifully reflected in its music. It was there in the script even. It’s not just about drugs. It’s far beyond that. What I saw in the film was a unique road-trip story. I had understood what Agneya wanted to say and how he wanted to say.
M Cream Is A Lot More Than A Stoner Film
Q- Tell us something about your character.
A- I play Jaishree Bose or J in the film. Actually, when I read the script, I called Agneya to inform him that I was ready to play Maggi’s character because I thought that he had planned that role for me. But he was quiet on the phone and then said that he was giving me the role of J. I became excited the moment he said that. The character was very familiar to me. She is a Delhi girl, a Bengali and studies in Lady Shri Ram College in Delhi University. She takes herself very seriously and is a very gentle person. This was one character I was looking to do. I had been playing very similar kinds of characters in films and I was looking for a change to break that stereotype. It is very easy to get typecast in our industry. This gave me an opportunity to do something different.
Q- As a daughter of one of the finest actresses we have today, what pressure did you have on yourself, every time the camera is switched on?
A- It’s very funny but I have never thought of myself as Lillete Dubey’s daughter when I am on stage or in front of the camera. I am proud of the fact that I am my dad’s and mum’s daughter. My father was a brilliant man, wonderful human and also an actor. He was my best critic and I valued his opinions. My mother and I have been working together for a long time now. All my generation children grew up acting. So, in my family, there was this acting environment where we all grew in. I have been on stage since I was five. So I was always surrounded by great personalities in the theatre. This is the reason why there is no pressure because I am used to it now. My mother has been a great task master whenever she has directed me. We have done 7 theatre productions together and in three of those we have played mother-daughter.
Q- How was it shooting like in mountains and hills? Any experience from the sets?
A- It was gruelling working in M Cream in that 40 days schedule. We worked under some very difficult conditions. It was a big learning. People think that acting is a very glamorous profession but it is far from it. M Cream is one of those grueling schedules that I have ever had. Shooting in those kinds of locations and conditions was tough. I remember this one incident where we had to shoot this one surreal sequence in the film. It was minus 2 degrees that day and I was wearing a chiffon gown. I was freezing and had to run through the valley. It was a dream sequence.
Agneya was sitting far away at the top with a loud speaker. I ran for like 7 – 8 times uphill but Agneya was not satisfied with the shot. I am usually extremely professional at work but after some more takes, I screamed at him ‘Can we just move on’. After finally getting the shot, I remember, we were going back and there was this local guy in the crew who was walking behind me. He stopped me and said, “Don’t worry, the hard work will pay off one day.” It was really cute to hear these words at that time. As the film is about to release I still remember his words. I hope the hard work pays off.
Interview By: Shubham Pandey
Image Courtesy: M Cream’s Facebook Page