Thought Box

The Making of Amruta Subhash

The Making of Amruta Subhash

by Aparajita Krishna May 28 2022, 12:00 am Estimated Reading Time: 27 mins, 53 secs

Aparajita Krishna writes, “Amruta Subhash was cradled by very strong creative influences. Mother Jyoti Subhash (nee Deshpande), the very reputed alumni of the National School of Drama (Delhi), is a thespian actor on Marathi, Hindi stage”.

Films and television happened later to her generation of actors. Her Mama (mother’s brother) Govind P Deshpande was a noted academic, professor, playwright and film writer. Her cousin brother Sudhanva Deshpande is a theater director, actor and columnist. Her growing-up years and adult choices saw Amruta add to her cultural-literary lineage. She is in the present acting across platforms: theatre, films, television and web-series. Her acts in Marathi and Hindi have grown with each passing performance. Sandesh Kulkarni, her husband, is a noted director-writer-actor and sister-in-law Sonali Kulkarni is a very established actor.

I received Amruta’s voice-notes on WhatsApp. She would between her shooting send me the recordings. Transcribing the talk gave a sense of intimacy. Amruta has a very pleasant, melodious voice, which she uses very well in voicing her characters. One could also hear girlish laughter and some emotional choke.  It is also a voice of a trained singer. I got treated to humming, alaap, murkis, taan. Her elaborate talk on acting and characterizations carries excellent anecdotes and lessons.

In Marathi film Gandha she featured in the Lagnachya Vayachi Mulgi story. Adapted in Hindi as Aiyyaa (2012) it featured Rani Mukherjee in the role Amruta had originally played. Amruta shares, “Langnaachya Vayachi Mulgi character was very innocent. I loved playing it. Rani Mukherjee met me when she was preparing for that role. She praised my role and was very kind. She loved the way I say ‘Aayi’ in that film. She said, “I am going to say it like that.”

I’m starting with the immediate present. What are the assignments you are busy shooting or rehearsing? 

I believe the universe is my personal manager. I keep telling the universe about my dream directors. I am working with two women directors right now. My new play, Phir Se Honeymoon, has just had two houseful shows at Prithvi theatre. My Guru, Naseeruddin Shah, keeps asking me every 2-3 years, “When are you doing your next play? Do theatre.” Now I am doing the same play in Marathi - it’s written by Sandesh Kulkarni, my husband. He is an actor too. He played Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s father in Sacred Games and Inspector Tawde’s role in Nikhil Advani’s Mumbai Diaries 26/11. The play is about a couple who have been married for some years, but now think they are losing out on many things in their relationship. So, they decide to revisit the place where they had their honeymoon. And things start changing for them.

In Hindi I have been mostly doing supporting roles. Now in a series I will be playing a protagonist. While earlier I got offered mostly Maharashtrian characters, in this series I am playing a character that belongs to Purani Dilli. I am working on my dialect. I am good with dialects. The role gave me the opportunity to interact with people in Purani Dilli. The universe has been kind that I am being offered challenging projects. I want to be on my toes - in an uncomfortable space where I want to learn new things.

What is your earliest memory of theatre, which may well have been your playground?

I was born in Pune. The main reason I came into this field was my mother. She, Jyoti Deshpande, is also a very well known actress. She played my mother-in-law and Ranveer Singh’s Daadi in Gully Boy. She has been Naseeruddin Shah and Om Puri’s batchmate at the NSD.

My earliest influences have been seeing her work on stage. The first time I saw her on stage was as a 7 or 8-year-old. It was in the play Tuglaq, directed by Satyadev Dubeyji. Later he became my Guru. My mother played the vamp stepmother in Tuglaq. As a character she behaved completely different. I wondered what happens to her on stage? That memory was my first encounter with theatre.

My mother had left acting when we were born, to take care of my brother and me. She kept telling us about the NSD and what Ebrahim Alkazi taught her. Then she did the play Atmakatha with the legendary Dr Sreeeram Lagoo. She would keep muttering the dialogues and tell me that she is rehearsing for her play. I would tell her, “But you go for the rehearsals, then why are you rehearsing at home?”. She would say, “No, it is very important to be with your script and character all by yourself. It is then when the character opens up and tells you her secrets.” That has stuck to me. I learnt how to be alone with my characters.

Tell us more of the influence your uncle and others had on your making as an actor.

Like my mother, my mama Govind P Deshpande (GPD), has been one of the biggest influences. GPD was the most learned man in my family. His biggest contribution to my career has been that he gave me his love for books. He had a great sense of humor, as you would know. You have met him. He made conversations fun and rich with knowledge. 

My nonihal was Rahimatpur, a small village, in Satara district. GPD and my mother spent their childhood there. My mother started the very first library in Rahimatpur. All the other children would be playing and I would be reading books. This love for reading gave me awareness about good content. In my career many actresses have said ‘no’ to films that I have accepted. I never thought of just my role while accepting a script. In film Astu, for which I won the National Award as the Best Supporting Actor, my role is only ten minutes long. I realized it is an author-backed role.

A good actor also has to know good content. My reading of different kinds of literature helped. There are many people in my family who have been artistes. I learnt Bharat Natyam from Manik Maushi. Music was an integral part of the family. After dinner we would all sit on the terrace with my Ajoba - grandfather. He would make us sing Marathi songs. Then my husband is a director. My sister-in-law Sonali Kulkarni is also from this field. Artistes have surrounded me and they have contributed a lot to the structuring of my character as Amruta. There is a thin line between a person and the characters. Sometimes they intermingle and give to each other.

What was your father’s vocation? Your birth name is Amruta Subhashchandra Dhembre.

My father Subhash Chandra (Bacharam) Dhembare was an engineer. My brother is also an engineer. The most important quality I inherited from my father is, as we say in Marathi, chikati (perseverance). I may fail any number of times, but still, I will get up and do the thing. That attitude was my father’s gift to me. He was an introvert. Even his anger he would keep to himself. Sometimes I am like my mother who is completely an extrovert. Both the qualities have helped me in my acting: subtility of experience and exuberance. I call her a waterfall. She is full of abundance, always laughing. I still feel she is younger than me. At 74 the kind of energy she has! My father is physically not with me, but I cherish those qualities.

Your mother Jyotiji had told me that hers was not a strategized career.  Her reputation as a theatre veteran remains solid. You have taken the legacy further in both artistic and popular appeal. How do you evaluate from an actor’s point of view?

My mother had to leave her career when we were growing up. For me my career has always been my topmost priority. I have seen her miss work when we were small and living in small villages like Newasa. My father had a transferable job. There would be no theatre, or films. Mother was a gold medalist from NSD and just sit at home and raise kids. She missed out on many things. I wanted to give those things back to her. When I won the national award, I dedicated it to her. If she had not left her career back then she would have won the national award.  

Amruta is also a classically trained Bharat Natyam dancer and a singer. Later in years she also gave playback singing and won the Maharashtra Govt. State Award. Amruta recalls with amusement,It was funny. I was learning Hindustani and South Indian music at the same time. In Hindustani music you have to be really steady with your Sa… (She sings) and in South Indian you have to (Sings ahhhh… aannnnannnn) shake your voice. One Guru would tell me to be steady with my voice and another Guru would ask me to shake my voice. Playback singing is a different field altogether. Sumitra Maushi helped me find my own voice with that song from Nital.

Who are the chosen persons and the creative works that shaped your childhood and early youth’s aesthetics?

My mother was my first director. We would perform G A Kulkarni’s short stories. It was my first stage encounter. My mother never forced me into anything. Not even to choose acting. I was doing music and dance. When I was studying for my 10th (laughs) my mother used to say, “Oh my God, you are studying so much. Too much yaar! Now stop studying and go outside, play for a little while.”

I started doing theatre when Satyadev Dubeyji entered my life after class 10. When I was in class 11 I did a Marathi serial with Amol Palekar, Paulkhuna. Amolda is such an amazing director. Debu Deodhar, who taught me everything about camera, shot that. 

My first film was Chakori, a short film by Sumitra Bhave and Sunil Sukthankar - these two sowed the seeds. Renu and I played village girls in the film. We went to the village and stayed with village girls. I then did a film called Badha in which I played a shepherd woman. I stayed in a shepherd hut and learnt from shepherd women how to tie the sari, the dialect. One of them taught me how to make their kind of Jawar Bhakri. Even now when I do a new character I try and find someone who is like that character.

In my teens Satyadev Dubey was the biggest influence. When I was 16, he told me, ‘Beta keep learning all your life.’ That has been my motto. The magic of becoming someone else I experienced for the first time in Dubeyji’s workshop. Dubeyji was a very strict teacher. He used to shout a lot. We were all scared of him. One day in the workshop he gave us the exercise to imitate Dubey himself. Everyone started shouting in his or her acts. Shouting was his most prominent quality. I did it differently. He would smoke a lot and he had this habit of taking out the cigarette from the packet, tapping it on it because he had to complete his point, then keep the cigarette in the mouth, again remove, again tap… finally light it. I had observed that. I did that act. He looked at me as if it was amazing. That day I decided I wanted to be an actor. Earlier I was confused whether to be a singer or a dancer.

As a student of SP College, Pune, your theatre participation in college got marked. Which college plays specially play in memory?

SP College plays a very, very important role. Specially Bhagwat Sir and Gowri Bhagwat Mam. I studied English literature. Bhagwat Sir was the biggest influence, my introduction to Shakespeare and to many wonderful English plays. My senior, Suvarna Kulkarni, was our cultural head. He made me do a competition - Prasanga Natya Darshan. We were given a subject and asked to construct and perform the play within one hour. All girls were in the competition. I played a boy in the play. I won my first acting prize. When I became a boy on stage I forgot the shy girl in me. This magic of becoming someone else I experienced for the first time. In my 1st year college, I did a Marathi play called Pandharya Ghodyavaril Rajputra. It won me the best actress award. 

Purushottam Karandak is a very well known competition in Pune. I won it. It gave me confidence and also my life-partner. Sandesh wrote a play called Partners for the competition when I was in the second year. We both developed the play and I fell in love with him. I directed the play. So, SP College and Purushottam Karandak shaped up my career fundamentally. 

Was going to the NSD pre-decided? Who were the teachers and your class-mates?

Actually, Dubeyji made me go to the NSD. I had already fallen in love with Sandesh. So, I did not want to go to the NSD. Having won the Purushottam Karandak competition, I wanted to directly go to Mumbai. Dubeyji told my mother to tell me that if I don’t go to the NSD he will slap me. The thought of that slap made me go to the NSD. 

At the NSD I specialized in acting. Heeba Shah (Naseer Sir’s daughter) was my batch mate. It was a co-incidence that earlier my mother and Naseer Sir were batchmates. Naseer Sir was on our visiting faculty. He came to take our workshops. Whatever he taught me there, has been my poonji, my khazana. Certain things that he taught me there I understand now.

I remember a very funny incident. At the NSD BV Karanth was our director. He directed Vikram Urvashi, a classical Hindi play, as a musical. I was playing Urvashi. I would sing. He would say, ’Achcha gaati hai, Maharashtra se Karnataka bhaagti hai aur Karnataka se Maharashtra bhaagti hai.’ Because I had learnt both traditions of music: South Indian classical and Indian classical. (She sings).

Which roles at the NSD played most important in your trajectory as an actor? Mentioned on the net are: Vikram Urvashi (1997), Bela Meri Jaan (1998), House of Bernada Alba (1998), Mrug Trushna (1999).

About Vikram Urvashi I have already talked. Bela Meri Jaan remains near to my heart. Prasannaji was the director. Swanand Kirkire had written the play. Prasannaji said he would not do the casting. We can choose the parts. I thought let others choose. I will take what remains. Bela’s character was not introduced in the play yet (laughs). Sandesh, then my boyfriend and now my husband, had come to meet me. I bunked one reading of Bela Meri Jaan to meet him. We were sitting at the chai shop outside the NSD. Then one person from my class came to inform that Bela’s character has been introduced and Prasannaji wants me to play Bela.  I rushed back.

Bela Meri Jaan was about a very ambitious singer who comes to Mumbai from a small village, Sangli, in Maharashtra to achieve her ambitions. I had to sing. Bhaskar Chandravarkar gave amazing tunes. Swanand Kirkire wrote wonderful songs. To sing those songs on stage was amazing. People would call and ask me, ‘Will you marry me?’. Bela gave me that kind of publicity. I was young so it felt really nice. In the play Prasannaji had used a very wonderful technique. Bela came in flashbacks and in the present. The entire set, all the costumes were black and white. In the present I was wearing greys, black, white. Only in flashbacks I wore red.

Ram Gopal Bajaj Sir was the director of Mrug Trushna. He gave me a very touching character. In one scene I would cry and we would get claps. I remember a very important incident. One day Naseer Sir came to watch. I was like, “Now Sir will praise me when he watches this scene”.  He saw two consecutive shows. I cried in both the shows and got claps. He came backstage and said, “I am concerned! I saw the two shows. You did exactly the same thing. I can see you can cry very well. But I did not think that scene required that much of crying. You got claps. But you should think of what the character requires, not what you can do well. Otherwise, all characters will be the same. An actor has limited arrows (of art) and you are using the same arrows again and again. Change the arrows. Expand your techniques. Explore. You might fail while exploring, but you might also discover something new.” He did not say this verbatim, but meant this. I still remember what Sir had said and try implementing that.

After graduating from the NSD what did you first do? 

I came to Mumbai first, but I was also at Pune because Sandesh Kulkarni and I worked in this experimental theatre group called Samanvay. They were doing the play Sathe Cha Kai Karaicha. It was written by Rajiv Naik and directed by Sandesh. This play played a great role in shaping my entire career and got me many roles. All the legends watched it. Dr Lagoo and Vijay Tendulkar came to watch this play. Sandesh had designed the play amazingly well. I was very young, only 22-33, and that role required a woman-professor in her thirties. Sandesh gave me the opportunity and it is one of the best roles I have done till now.

Your work in Marathi theatre saw you get especially noticed in Tee Phulrani, adapted from Shaw’s Pygmalion, and written by Pu La Deshpande. You reprised the role that was earlier performed by Bhakti Barve. Recall to us the nostalgia of that experience.

At that time, I was also doing an experimental play with my mother. It was about a woman rag picker. We were performing at Rahimatpur. I used to sing live. Bhaktiji had just passed away. After this play a villager said, “I wish you get Tee Phulrani.” I returned from Rahimatpur to Mumbai and Waman Kendre called to say, “I am sitting with Mohan Wagh. We are doing Tee Phulrani again and thinking of you.” The play’s producer was Mohan Wagh. There is poetic justice to this. When Tee Phulrani was first done my mother was young and had just come out of the NSD. She went to meet Pu La Deshpandeji for that role. He told her that Bhakti Barve has already been cast. Mother missed that opportunity. So, she was very happy when I was asked to do this role.

I had not seen Bhaktiji perform. She had done such a grand job that I would have been really scared if I had seen that play. There was no burden on me. Waman Kendre did the play differently, as a musical. Pula’s language has inbuilt verse. While preparing me for Manjula Waman, Sir made me go to the Shiv Sena Bhawan traffic signal. There was one Phoolwali who sold flowers. He had that girl in mind as the character. I used to go there, hide and observe her. She was a very sweet talker. Waman Sir said, “She is a successful marketing business woman.” One day she saw me and asked, “Why are you observing me and not buying flowers?” I said, “I am doing your role.” She was very excited. She gifted me her flower basket and asked me to use for the show. That was the best gift I got. I used that basket. For the audience also it became a new play. This Phulrani was singing. 

It was when I performed this play for the first time in Pune that I realized what Bhaktiji had done to the play. One old villager came backstage and said, “Who is playing Phulrani?”  I said, “I am playing.” He said, “I want your autograph”. I signed. He looked at it and said, “Your name is not Bhakti Barve?” I said “No”. He remarked, “You are Phulrani and you are not Bhakti Barve?” I shuddered. Everyone who had come for the play knew the dialogues by heart. They were repeating the dialogues with me. That was the kind of popularity Bhaktiji had!  

Amruta went on to feature in many Marathi films and TV serials. From playing supporting roles she moved on to lead roles. Shwaas (2004) was her debut-film. She played the medical social worker Asawari. Shwaas won the Golden Lotus National Award and was also India’s Oscar entry. Then followed the Hindi film Chausar (2004), directed by Sagar Sarhadi. She recalled, “I was working with Nawazuddin Siddiqui for the first time. It was great knowing him as an actor. He is so subtle, so truthful.” 

In 2004 you acted in Gulzar Saheb’s telefilm, Nirmala, based on Premchand’s novel. Aired on DD it was the last in the series of Gulzar’s Tehreer - Munshi Premchand Ki. Do recall.

Working with Gulzar Saheb were the best days of my life. I am very grateful to Salim Arif Sir for introducing me to him. He was part of Gulzar Saheb’s project. I remember the first meeting with Gulzar Saheb (laughs). This was before Nirmala. He asked me to sing a Marathi lullaby. I sang a very well known Marathi lullaby, ‘Limbonicha Jhadamage’. (Sings). He said, “Oh my God! Very good!” Then he said “Aap paan kha sakti hain role mein?” I said “Ji”. He said, “Good. You are doing it.” So, “Ek gaana” and “Kya aap paan kha sakti hain?” were the two questions he asked (laughs).

It was after this short film that Gulzar Saheb selected me for Nirmala. I was very young. I could not understand the complexities of Nirmala. He made me understand them. Like making rotis and talking simultaneously.  While making roti if your mood is angry you will make it in a different manner. If happy you will make it in a different manner. In-between you have to place your dialogues. One scene had lots of emotions. I was not getting it. Gulzar Saheb told me many things about the character’s psyche. Then he said, “Sab bhool jao jo maine kaha aur perform.” This line is imprinted. He wanted me to learn when to stop thinking and start acting. Gulzar Saheb gave me so much love and warmth. He translated Kusumagraj, a very well known Marathi poet, into Urdu. I am grateful that he allowed me to be part of that process. In my tooti-phooti Hindi I would give him the tarjuma of the Marathi poem and then he would translate them. Those were the best days of my life!

Amruta went on to act in Basu Chatterjee’s serial Ek Prem Katha. In 2002 she acted in the noted Marathi film Valu. Her role of Asavari in the Marathi serial Awaghachi Sansaar was much appreciated. People would tell her that they have named their daughter Asavari. In 2006 she got awarded the Best Actress for it. She also received the V Shantaram Award for film Savalee - her first bilingual film in Konkani and Marathi. In Nandita Das’ Hindi film Firaaq (2008), she was seen in a supporting role.

Tya Ratri Paus Hota saw you play a teenage drug-addict.

It gave me a completely different look of this drug-addicted very troubled soul. She is brash. Finally, she takes revenge for what happened to her mother. It had a stellar cast. I worked with Sayaji Shinde for the first time. 

You then appeared in the film Gandha (2009) and featured in the story Langnaachya Vayachi Mulgi (A Bride To Be). It was adapted in Hindi as Aiyyaa (2012), a film featuring Rani Mukherjee in the role you had apprised in Marathi.

Gandha/Langnaachya Vayachi Mulgi character was very innocent. I loved playing it. Yes, then Rani did that role.

This very prolific artiste would in 2012 participate in the Marathi Sa Re Ga Ma Pa for celebrities and come in the top 5. She has also given playback and music.

In 2014 you got the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actress for film Astu, directed by Sumitra Bhave-Sunil Sukthankar.

National award was a pleasant surprise. That role was only of 10 minutes length. I appear in the film after the interval. It was such a well written role. It is near my heart because my father in real life had Alzheimer’s. In Astu Mr Agashe plays a person who has Alzheimer’s. I play the role of a Kannada woman, Channamma.

My husband owns an elephant. Mr Agashe’s character follows the elephant home. I am a village woman. I don’t understand what Alzheimer’s is, but I understand that this person has become a child at 75. I start taking care of him. I accept Alzheimer’s and let him be as he is. He starts calling me Aai.

This story is a sub-part of the main story. I did not know Kannada at all. I called up B Jayashree Maushi who is a Kannadiga. She came all the way to Pune and trained me for this role. She taught me a Kannada song, which I used in this film. At the end Mr Agashe’s character goes back when his daughter comes to take him home. So, now I just touch his feet. While going he calls me ‘Aai’. My character’s reaction to that Aai was such a touching, loving moment.

MS Sathyu was the jury head at the national award. He told me, “Your reaction to that Aai, got you the national award.” The credit goes to Sumitra Bhave-Sunil Sukthankar. I wished my father was alive. I would then like Chanamma to take care of him in a better way. This role taught me a lot about life.

What a co-incidence that when I got my national award, Gulzar Saab won the Dadasaheb Phalke Award. So, he was also in the audience. Sometimes the universe gives me some amazing surprises.

Amruta went on to act in the Marathi film Killa (2014). The film, selected for the 64th Berlin International Film Festival, won the Crystal Bear by the Children’s Jury. It also won the National Award as the Best Feature Film in Marathi. She reminisces, “Many people from the Hindi film industry saw Killa. I got many roles because of Killa. It was director Avinash Arun’s first film and at the age of only 26. I was so impressed by his clarity of thought. He is also a divine cinematographer. My character Aruna Kale is a single mother raising her child. I saw the film for the first time at Berlin. People were clapping. We cried after the film. Archin who played my son asked me, “Why are you crying? Aren’t you happy people are clapping?” I said, “These are happy tears.”

In Raman Raghav 2.0, Amruta again worked with Nawazuddin Siddiqui and for the first time with director Anurag Kashyap. She recalls,This was the beginning of a wonderful journey with one of the most important directors of my life. Because of Raman Raghav I got Gully Boy and many films. It was only one scene, but such a powerful scene! A gamechanger for me!”

Sumitra Bhave’s Marathi movie Dithee released in 2019 and streamed on SonyLIV. Do share what you want to.

Dithee will always be dear to me because it was my last film with Sumitra maushi. She has been a very, very important influence on my life and career. Suddenly we lost her. Dithee talks about how to come to terms with the death of a loved one. It seems Sumitra maushi before leaving me prepared me for death through Dithee. 

You starred in the Netflix original series Selection Day (2018-2019) and in Sacred Games Season 2 (2019). Both were opposite Nawazuddin Siddiqui.

Selection Day was one of the first projects I did for Netflix. I told the universe that I want to do challenging roles at every age and not get slotted in mother roles. OTT happened to India. Udayan Prasad is a very well known director from UK. Tes Joseph was casting the series. Tes made Udayan watch Killa. He auditioned me. I worked with Udayan. It was a great experience. Once Selection Day came on Netflix my work was seen by so many people in many countries.

In Selection Day I had a traditional look. Now I wanted to do a different look. I went to my parlor. Shefali cut my hair really short. Same day Nawaz called me for the Manto premier. Vikramaditya Motwane saw me in my short hair. He said, “Hey you look different”. He then called Varun Grover who is the writer Sacred Games. Next day I got called for the audition. My husband Sandesh helped me. I was such a petite looking girl and here was a RAW agent’s role threatening Nawaz. Sandesh said, “Look the police have to show their power, but the RAW agents know their power. A person who knows his/her power does not have to show it off. The calmer you will be, the more powerful you will look.” That was the key to the character. In the audition I was just calm. That got me the role. Anurag Kashyap pushes you to a challenging territory, but does not leave you alone. What a creator! This was a male role in the novel, but Varun Grover, Anurag and Vikramaditya changed it to a female role. It is a sign of very powerful times that strong male roles are being converted to women roles and actresses like me are getting to do them.

For film Gully Boy (2019) directed by Zoya Akhtar you received the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress. A popular award has its own rewards.

For Astu I won the Filmfare Award as Best Supporting Actress. It was a Marathi film. This one was my first Filmfare for a Hindi film. When we went for the Filmfare Award to Assam it felt like a family. Ranveer Singh, Alia Bhatt everyone was there. I never felt like an outsider. It was great receiving that award. 

In web-series Bombay Begums (2021) you played Lily, an ex-bar dancer. The series had Pooja Bhatt, Shahana Goswami and others. It explored the lives of 5 ambitious women from different walks of life in modern-day Mumbai. How was the experience?

Shruti Mahajan, the casting director, suggested my name to director Alankrita Shrivastav. Alankrita had seen Gully Boy and could not imagine a person who played Ranveer’s mother to be a bar-dancer. The role was older than my own age. I did the audition for Bombay Begums. Then Alankrita said, “Oh Wow! I could never imagine her doing this!” I got the role. Alankrita made me meet Reshma Aapa, an actual bar dancer from Kamathipura. She opened her heart to me. Bombay Begums gave me the confidence that I could play a seductress from a different economic stratum.

Dhamaka, a thriller directed by Ram Madhvani, released in 2021. How was the experience?

It was great working in it. This character is an up-class shrewd corporate media person. I did not know these kinds of characters. To portray that was amazing. It got me my first review in New York Times.

Anything more you want to share?

I also want to talk about my psychotherapy. I started it when my father got diagnosed with Alzheimer. He could not recognize me. I was suffering because of my father’s Alzheimer. I have written a book - Ek Ulat Ek Sulat. I have written openly about my mental health and how therapy has helped me. The play Sandesh and I are now doing addresses many mental health issues. It is necessary to openly talk about our mental health. Therapy is helping us to take responsibility for our own emotions.

On a personal note: How does the creative bonding between husband-wife in same creative profession add to the marital bond? 

My husband has been a very influencing partner and my best friend. On a personal level and in my career, he has been the driving force. People say the best job I do is when working with Sandesh. Just now also I am rehearsing for a play written and directed by Sandesh. We are playing a couple. Many husbands give their wives wonderful gifts, but my husband gives me wonderful roles. Those have been the most unique gifts of my life.

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