'I'm glad my Cannes moment has come'

Candid talk

'I'm glad my Cannes moment has come'

Sonal Sehgal, who debuted with Nagesh Kukunoor’s critically acclaimed ‘Aashayein’, is currently in high spirits as her recently wrapped film, ‘Mantostan’, is headed for a world premiere at Cannes Film Festival.

‘Mantostan’ is a screen adaptation of Saadat Hassan Manto’s stories, directed by Rahat Kazmi, in which Sehgal plays the protagonist. Talking to Metrolife, the 34-year-old, who likes to write in her free time and is appointed as the brand ambassador for Indian Muay Thai Federation 2016, tells more about the film, her role and future projects.   

How was your experience of ‘Mantostaan’?

It was a wish fulfilled! I’m a big fan of Manto’s works. His characterisation of women is full bodied. They are not just props or pretty faces. His portrayals of domesticated women and prostitutes are unique. I play a feisty sardarni’ in the film. There are many layers to my character. Like all of us, she has sheen and a very dark side as well.

How did you bag the film?

Rahat Kazmi, the director called me and said he was making a film on Manto’s stories. I jumped at the opportunity. I would happily play any character written by Manto; and Rahat directing, was just icing on the cake. He is a very sensitive director — somebody who stays true to emotions and real to the world. I was very impressed with his last outing, ‘Identity Card’.
 
This is your first appearance at Cannes. How does it feel?

Ecstatic! Cannes is like pilgrimage for an actor. Everybody wants to be there, at that platform, at least once in their career. I’m glad my moment has come.
 
What do you prefer — acting, writing or kickboxing?

These are my many passions, though not exactly in that order. They keep rotating according to my mood and opportunities.
 
How has your journey been till now?

Exciting and full of adventure. Ups and downs, good and bad all go hand in hand. It’s been a roller coaster ride — sometimes you peak with joy and at other times feel ill in your stomach.
 
How did you enter the industry?

I used to assist Pradeep Sarkar, and whenever there was time or money crunch I would step in for the model or actor. I did numerous commercials with him till I got spotted by the makers of ‘Saara Akash’, my first TV series. From then, it was pretty seamless getting work. One thing led to another. I have done theatre; my most memorable play being Mahesh Dattani’s ‘Mad about Money’, which we performed all over the world.
 
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

More writing and doing author backed roles.

 When will we see you in a Bollywood masala movie?

Hopefully soon!
 
Any director you wish to work with?

There are many — Anurag Kashyap, Neeraj Ghaywan, Zoya Akhtar, Dibakar Banerjee, Imtiaz Ali and Pradeep Sarkar.
   
What next are you working on?

My next is Brazilian director Lucia Barata’s ‘Flows’. It’s a story about 2 biggest rivers in the world – the Ganga and Amazon. Using the metaphor of the rivers, the director has written a story and it shows the Portuguese connection that India has.  

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