INTERVIEW

Meet the actress who plays Indira Gandhi in Madhur Bhandarkar’s ‘Indu Sarkar’

Supriya Vinod steps into the shoes of the former prime minister yet again for Madhur Bhandarkar’s ‘Indu Sarkar’.

If the movie is about Indira Gandhi, is there anybody better than Supriya Vinod to play her?

Vinod has portrayed the former prime minister in the Jabbar Patel biopic Yashwantrao Chavan in 2014 and her father Ratnakar Matkari’s stage production Indira – The Play in 2015, which is set between the Emergency and her death in 1984. Vinod repeats the feat in Madhur Bhandarkar’s movie, which takes place during the Emergency and follows the journey of an idealistic poet (Kirti Kulhari). The cast of the July 21 release includes Neil Nitin Mukesh as Sanjay Gandhi and Anupam Kher and Tota Roy Chowdhury in pivotal roles. Vinod spoke to Scroll.in about the challenges in bringing a historical character to life and the differences in approaching the role on the stage and the screen.

How did you get associated with Indira Gandhi?
Ratnakar Matkari, my father, wrote a play for me around 10-12 years ago. While he was sure of my acting capacity, he didn’t know if I could look like her. He sent a couple of my photographs to the makeup artist Vikram Gaikwad, who used a wig on them and said I was perfect for the role.

While the play was looking for producers, Mr Gaikwad told Jabbar Patel that the role of Indira Gandhi in his film Yashwantrao Chavan would suit me. They were earlier looking for a North Indian actress because even though the film was in Marathi, Indira Gandhi’s dialogue was in Hindi. They eventually cast me. Because I was accepted in the role, it became easier to play the role in the play, which I have been doing for the past two years.

What is your role in ‘Indu Sarkar’?
Mr Gaikwad also suggested my name to Madhur Bhandarkar, who luckily knew about my role in the play. It is set against the backdrop of the Emergency. There are no controversial scenes. It is more or less in line with what people think of her.

Playing Indira Gandhi is an honour. However big or small the role is, you have to carry yourself properly. You have to speak the way she speaks. You have to work on everything – the body language, the facial expressions – because people have a certain image of her.

The look test for Madhur Bhandarkar’s Indu Sarkar.
The look test for Madhur Bhandarkar’s Indu Sarkar.

How challenging is it to play a historical figure?
You have to make people remember her. The likeness has to be there. She had a very famous walk, she used to walk very rapidly. The play takes place in her house, so it is not possible to walk around, but you have to maintain that image.

The audience only has an image of her as a politician. Very few people know about her as a person and how it reflected on her career. So there was a possibility of people denying the character. That was a balance I had to maintain.

You can put more of yourself into the role if it is an imaginary character because there isn’t a fixed boundary. In a historical character, there is not enough space for that to happen. Although you still have to find a way to relate to the person.

For instance, although my father is not as famous as Jawaharlal Nehru, he is famous. So being the daughter of a famous person, I know how it feels. Obviously, the scale is different, but it’s a link that helped while playing Indira Gandhi.

What are the differences between the stage and the screen?
It’s a difference of style. For the film, you can do more detailing. Even without lines, you can see a lot. While the play was set in one location in Indira Gandhi’s house, the film has three-dimensional sets and scenes at outdoor locations and during rallies. Naturally, that affects your performance.

Supriya Vinod in the play Indira.
Supriya Vinod in the play Indira.

What research did you undertake for the role?
I studied all her interviews and her photos. For example, the way she wears her watch constantly changes. In some photos, it is on her left hand, in others, it is on her right. Sometimes it’s inside out.

Sometimes, we cannot follow exactly what took place. Indira Gandhi’s sari was always prim and proper, but in those days they didn’t pin the pallu. If I didn’t do it, then it would fall down and would break the image of her. So you have to take the decision of what to follow and what not to follow.

There are other things we noticed – she used to blink her eyes rapidly while talking and bite her lips. Such things I could use in the film and not in the play. My voice has more of a bass tone while hers was shrill, but sometimes I think my original voice might be better suited to maintain an image of seriousness and strength.

How did playing the role affect your opinion of politics?
I had very little information about politics before I played the role. Now I have a better understanding of what’s being written about in newspapers. That has been the greatest change.

Earlier, when I was mugging up the lines for the play, I was scared if I took the name of a politician. But while rehearsing, I came to know who was who, and how their opinions were different about each other. Now if I do make a mistake, it won’t be a glaring one, because I know about politics.

Supriya Vinod in Yashwantrao Chavan (2014).
Supriya Vinod in Yashwantrao Chavan (2014).
We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

What’s the difference between ‘a’ washing machine and a ‘great’ washing machine?

The right machine can save water, power consumption, time, energy and your clothes from damage.

In 2010, Hans Rosling, a Swedish statistician, convinced a room full of people that the washing machine was the greatest invention of the industrial revolution. In the TED talk delivered by him, he illuminates how the washing machine freed women from doing hours of labour intensive laundry, giving them the time to read books and eventually join the labour force. Rosling’s argument rings true even today as it is difficult to deny the significance of the washing machine in our everyday lives.

For many households, buying a washing machine is a sizable investment. Oddly, buyers underestimate the importance of the decision-making process while buying one and don’t research the purchase as much as they would for a television or refrigerator. Most buyers limit their buying criteria to type, size and price of the washing machine.

Visible technological advancements can be seen all around us, making it fair to expect a lot more from household appliances, especially washing machines. Here are a few features to expect and look out for before investing in a washing machine:

Cover your basics

Do you wash your towels every day? How frequently do you do your laundry? Are you okay with a bit of manual intervention during the wash cycle? These questions will help filter the basic type of washing machine you need. The semi-automatics require manual intervention to move clothes from the washing tub to the drying tub and are priced lower than a fully-automatic. A fully-automatic comes in two types: front load and top load. Front loading machines use less water by rotating the inner drum and using gravity to move the clothes through water.

Size matters

The size or the capacity of the machine is directly proportional to the consumption of electricity. The right machine capacity depends on the daily requirement of the household. For instance, for couples or individuals, a 6kg capacity would be adequate whereas a family of four might need an 8 kg or bigger capacity for their laundry needs. This is an important factor to consider since the wrong decision can consume an unnecessary amount of electricity.

Machine intelligence that helps save time

In situations when time works against you and your laundry, features of a well-designed washing machine can come to rescue. There are programmes for urgent laundry needs that provide clean laundry in a super quick 15 to 30 minutes’ cycle; a time delay feature that can assist you to start the laundry at a desired time etc. Many of these features dispel the notion that longer wash cycles mean cleaner clothes. In fact, some washing machines come with pre-activated wash cycles that offer shortest wash cycles across all programmes without compromising on cleanliness.

The green quotient

Despite the conveniences washing machines offer, many of them also consume a substantial amount of electricity and water. By paying close attention to performance features, it’s possible to find washing machines that use less water and energy. For example, there are machines which can adjust the levels of water used based on the size of the load. The reduced water usage, in turn, helps reduce the usage of electricity. Further, machines that promise a silent, no-vibration wash don’t just reduce noise – they are also more efficient as they are designed to work with less friction, thus reducing the energy consumed.

Customisable washing modes

Crushed dresses, out-of-shape shirts and shrunken sweaters are stuff of laundry nightmares. Most of us would rather take out the time to hand wash our expensive items of clothing rather than trusting the washing machine. To get the dirt out of clothes, washing machines use speed to first agitate the clothes and spin the water out of them, a process that takes a toll on the fabric. Fortunately, advanced machines come equipped with washing modes that control speed and water temperature depending on the fabric. While jeans and towels can endure a high-speed tumble and spin action, delicate fabrics like silk need a gentler wash at low speeds. Some machines also have a monsoon mode. This is an India specific mode that gives clothes a hot rinse and spin to reduce drying time during monsoons. A super clean mode will use hot water to clean the clothes deeply.

Washing machines have come a long way, from a wooden drum powered by motor to high-tech machines that come equipped with automatic washing modes. Bosch washing machines include all the above-mentioned features and provide damage free laundry in an energy efficient way. With 32 different washing modes, Bosch washing machines can create custom wash cycles for different types of laundry, be it lightly soiled linens, or stained woollens. The ActiveWater feature in Bosch washing machines senses the laundry load and optimises the usage of water and electricity. Its EcoSilentDrive motor draws energy from a permanent magnet, thereby saving energy and giving a silent wash. The fear of expensive clothes being wringed to shapelessness in a washing machine is a common one. The video below explains how Bosch’s unique VarioDrumTM technology achieves damage free laundry.

Play

To start your search for the perfect washing machine, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Bosch and not by the Scroll editorial team.