By Arundhuti Banerjee
Mumbai– Actress Renuka Shahane — gearing up for her Bollywood comeback with “3 Storeys” — has been trying to break free of the image of “Pooja bhabhi” of “Hum Aapke Hain Koun..!” and says the changing age representation of women in Indian cinema is a progressive sign.
“There is a positive change and I appreciate that. I think now our films are going in the right direction. I am happy to observe how married women (actresses) are equally desirable now, unlike earlier days,” Renuka, 52, told IANS here.
“Whether it is Anushka (Sharma), Kareena (Kapoor Khan) or Rani (Mukerji), they are all resuming work after their marriage and pregnancy. Good roles are written for a woman of our age.
“This is very progressive. There are various phases of our life and all of them are explored on-screen now,” said Renuka, making a special mention of actress Vidya Balan.
“Vidya is making a huge difference with her kind of roles. She is playing her age, but with so much variety, and that should be celebrated,” she said, adding that it is time for television show makers also to get the direction right.
Renuka acted in several television shows like “Imtihaan”, “Ghutan” and “Kora Kagaz” in the late 1990s.
On the big screen, she is making a comeback with “3 Storeys” after 15 years.
Asked what made her choose “3 Storeys” as her comeback vehicle, Renuka told IANS: “I always wanted a role that will challenge me as a performer, a character that is so opposite of me, a character that will push me enough to bring out the best in me.
“After a certain point of time, I was getting roles where my characters had good presence on-screen, but were not in a great space as an actress, as a performer. At this stage of my career, only screen presence cannot satisfy me.”
Renuka’s loving character as the polite and ever-smiling Pooja in romantic drama “Hum Aapke…” trapped her in a way.
“That image was so stuck into the memory of the mass audience that, most of the time, people expected me to behave like Pooja bhabhi. The fact is I am a different individual in real life.
“I am not always giving that perfect smile to the world, I also get angry, curious and feel various other emotions… There are people I meet in public places who tell me, ‘But Pooja bhabhi to aise nahi baat karti hai’. To that, I have reacted saying, “Because I am Renuka, not Pooja bhabhi,” she said, giggling.
In “3 Storeys”, the actress essays a middle-aged grey-haired Catholic woman named Flory, who is waiting for someone.
She said the team — including Richa Chadha, Pulkit Samrat and Sharman Joshi — underwent extensive workshops.
“However, on the first day of the shoot, as the camera rolled, I felt a little nervous, which for me is a natural thing. With each scene, we actors are creating the world of the character we play, so yes, I was a little conscious.”
This apart, Renuka — who is married to actor Ashutosh Rana — is also planning to gear up for her directorial venture once her son’s board exams get over.
One to prioritise motherhood over career growth always, Renuka said: “Firstly, this is my choice of being a full-time mother because I love my children. And look, there are (many) actresses, but for my children, they have only one mother and that is me… they are mine, nothing could be more important than them.”
Directed by Arjun Mukherjee and produced by Excel Entertainment, “3 Storeys” will release on Friday. (IANS)