FROM playing the glamourous Pinky Bose in Aisha to embodying the plight of Iraqi women on stage in 9 Parts Desire, Ira Dubey is as versatile as it gets. Her upcoming movie M Cream, with Imaad Shah in the lead, has been doing the rounds of film festivals for the past two years (winning awards and appreciation alike) and is set for release in India next month. Ira portrays the role of Jay, a Bengali girl “with an activist bent of mind” in the coming of age story of four youngsters on a quest for sourcing a mythical brand of hash from the hills.
She recalls that when she read the script, she called up Agneya Singh (writer, director and the executive producer of the film) and told him, “it was lovely and obviously you want me to play Maggie” (the protagonist’s best friend and one of the more affluent and entitled characters). When he clarified that he wanted her to play the “strong and silent” Jay, Ira was thrilled. “In our business it’s so easy to get typecast. I was just talking to my mother (veteran actress Lillete Dubey) about it the other day and we had a good laugh about it… just because we live in South Bombay, we are given these upper class glamourous parts all the time and we keep on trying to resist it,”says the 31-year-old actress.While she has no qualms about playing the “vivacious bubbly sexy” character in her previous movies, Ira concedes that playing Jay gave her the opportunity to do something different.
Flavour of the season
Why did M Cream take so long to be released in our theatres? The Mumbai-based actress says that there were many factors — no big names, the movie is in English and drug themed — that made it difficult to attract backers. Referring to the recent controversy over Abhishek Chaubey’s Udta Punjab’s, she says, “substance abuse happens in every strata of society in different forms.” Talking about the hypocrisy of our society when it comes to portraying reality on screen, she says “art imitates life, Aristotle had said that thousands of years ago.”
On changing tides
Ira feels it’s an extremely exciting time to be an actor today with the influx of directors who are constantly experimenting with different forms of storytelling.She feels that there is a new wave of filmmakers — Anurag Kashyap, Imtiaz Ali, Bejoy Nambiar, Dibakar Banerjee, Vishal Bhardwaj — who are making a difference and helping in the evolution of Indian cinema by also encouraging new talent like Neeraj Ghaywan (of Masaan fame).Udaan (2010) was, according to her, the “coming of age of Indian cinema.” Praising it for its simplicity in storytelling, Dubey makes an appeal to the film’s director Vikramaditya Motwane to make more movies as there are actors like her “dying to work with him.” Ira will also be directing her first play this November and her next movie as an actress, directed by Gauri Shinde, is slated for release later this year. Keeping mum about another project she is working on, Ira says, “let’s just say it has nothing to do with acting.” We’ll just have to wait and see.
M Cream is set for release in theatres in India on July 22
— Simar Bhasin