- Interview: Aditi Rao Hydari
*Playing Anarkali in ‘Taj: Divided by Blood’ was a challenge and a pleasure: Aditi Rao Hydari*
*The 10-episode ZEE5 web series has been streaming successfully*
Hyderabad, 17th March, 2023: ‘Taj: Divided by Blood’ is a period drama streaming on ZEE5 since March 3. Produced by Contiloe Pictures for ZEE5, the series stars Aditi Rao Hydari in a leading role.
Also starring Dharmendra, Naseeruddin Shah, Rahul Bose, Zarina Wahab, Sandhya Mridul, Aashim Gulati and Taaha Shah, it is produced by Abhimanyu Singh, Roopali Singh and William Borthwick. The show is directed by Ron Scalpello, Ajay Singh, and Vibhu Puri.
In this interview, Aditi talks about doing the ZEE5 show, what she was excited for, and more.
When this role of Anarkali came my way, I was skeptical and reluctant to take it up. I am glad the directors believed in my ability. They were not ready to take ‘no’ for an answer. They told me the story will be narrated from a different perspective from what ‘Mughal-E-Azam’ (Hindi film) was told. People did warn me about comparisons with Madhubala. If there are any comparisons, I will take them as a blessing.
No role is easy. Even that role in ‘Sammohanam’ (Telugu) was challenging. You have to do justice to the director’s vision. You have to get the whole character right, not just some beats of the character. The audience have to remember your performance for a long time. I love what I do. I put my heart into my performances. Anarkali was surely a challenging character, especially because she is a historical character whose interpretation involves a lot of creativity and imagination.
Anarkali is shown as a fearless yet innocent girl who is humanized thoroughly in this ZEE5 show. Also, a lot of creative liberty has been taken. She runs away when she is sought to be tamed. She is so pure and cares strongly for her dreams and convictions. That excited me to do the show.
I liked that Anarkali was depicted anew. What makes her powerful is that she is soft and when she asserts herself, she looks special. There is nothing more powerful than love. That’s my takeaway from playing Anarkali. Following your heart makes you fearless. The freedom to live your dream is the greatest blessing.
Anju Modi designed my costumes, which were not heavy. Anarkali is a fragile girl and therefore, heavy costumes were consciously avoided. The designer gave light clothes that looked delicate. Even the jewelry was minimal. It was real jewelry.
It got to work with a lot of legends for ‘Taj’. I didn’t get to work with Dharmendra sir because his portions in the show belong to a different era. Naseeruddin Shah sir was a pleasure to work with. Great artists are very humble. They love what they do. They make you feel comfortable. They are kind and helpful. Nasseruddin sir was like a kid on set. He was inspiring to work with.
I am very hard on myself. I am self-critical and I always want to better myself. I analyze my performances.
I would love to do more and more Telugu films. You can finish a film in 50 or 60 days. A web series takes much longer. In films, the time period is limited and specific. In web shows, the detailing is more given the long running time. In terms of love, passion and all, it is the same for both films and OTT.
In recent times, I loved watching ‘RRR’. It was epic. Rajamouli sir and the entire team are amazing. Besides, they believe in Indian stories. Instead of looking outside of India for stories, they are looking within.
I don’t believe in Bollywood versus Southern cinema debate. I started out with Tamil cinema. In my mind, there is no distinction. We make films for our people. We should be proud of the diverse cultures, languages, and multiplicity of talents. Southern cinema itself has four major industries.
I understand Telugu and Tamil. I don’t understand Malayalam, though. I can speak proper Hindi. I can manage Urdu. I mug my lines as though I am studying for Board exams!
I am greedy as an actor. I have got to work with Mani Ratnam sir and Sanjay Leela Bhansali sir on repeat. If people believe that there is still more talent in me yet to be tapped, I would feel happy.
Personal life is called personal for a reason. It doesn’t bother me as long as people are not mean. It is natural that celebs’ personal lives are written about. The love we get is so much that I prefer to look at the amazing blessings. It is natural for people to be interested in the personal lives of celebs.
It would be amazing if I get to do Rekha ji’s biopic.