'Now I have stopped saying no'

CLASS ACT

'Now I have stopped saying no'

You would have seen her either on television, in films or on the stage. Though the names of the productions, she acted in don’t immediately come to mind, it is her characteristically 'good' acting that is remembered and distinguishes Mita Vasisht from the others in her league. And she has accepted only those projects which she found ‘suitable and sensible’. In the city recently, the actor spoke to Metrolife about the changes she has to bring in her choices.

“I need to push myself now because I didn’t start as a struggler,” says Vasisht remembering her initial days in Delhi at the National School of Drama. Straight out of the drama school “I did the best work with the best of people.” This includes names like Govind Nihalani’s Jazeere and Mani Kaul’s Siddheshwari. No wonder the actor says, “I just didn’t know what struggle means!”

“There was no difference between shooting for television and films,” says the actor who is still distinguished for her part in the epic saga Swabhimaan. “Our costumes were made in three to four days. As actors we never had to short-change ourselves. Acting in television was a process of transformation then. And we had the same directors sitting behind the camera as in films.”  

Soon she gets a call from her director Smita Bharti and excuses herself to attend it. The reason being the play Jug Jug Jiyo in which she performed recently, at Kamani Auditorium. “You know Kamani was built in front of me. I still remember watching Yatrik’s Oliver Twist here, when I was young. My father was posted here and we used to live on the same road where the auditorium is today,” she says as the subject drifts to her NSD days.

“My association with Delhi goes back to the days when I was with NSD as a student. Later I worked with them as an actor then as a drama teacher. Delhi audience is fairly critical than Mumbai audience.”

Known for her riveting performance in the solo play Lal Ded, Vasisht says that theatre is “a laboratory where you can experiment with your body, mind and intellect. I love cinema but I have never let go of theatre because it charges your battery. When I did my best work of cinema, I was fresh out of drama school - breathing and living theatre.

It was then that Govind Nihalani’s Drishti came my way and I consider it as an
extraordinary work. At times I think, will I still be able to do it today?”Her questions and dilemmas prove her acting strength, yet one fails to decode her ‘serious avatar’ onscreen vis a vis her relaxed being in real life.

“Even I don’t understand why people think I like to do only serious characters,” she remarks bursting into a hearty laugh. Her stern image gets shattered as she animatedly speaks her heart out: “Our industry is slightly age-driven. Earlier, I never got a photoshoot done yet I got brilliant offers,” she says, hinting at the recent past where she refused quite a few projects.

“Now I have stopped saying ‘no’. I have stopped thinking why am I doing this. Whatever comes my way, I take it and attempt it with the same integrity with which I worked previously. Just like Mr Amitabh Bachchan, I want to flow with time.”

“Now I think I need to do some running around the trees and upload my pictures online every month!” Her humour becomes biting and reasons clear, as she explains how roles have always come to her rather she going in search of them.

“Same goes for this commercial of washing powder where I play the naughty bhabhi to Salman Khan. I think I need to do more of such work to tickle the imagination of directors and audience both.”

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