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'It's my honour to relive the life of an 'unsung heroine: Bidita Bag

Thursday, March 07, 2019
By Chaitanya Padukone

Oomph-oozing model-actress Bidita Bag whose passionate kissing scenes with co-star Nawazuddin Siddiqui  in controversial  movie ‘Babumoshai Bandookbaaz’  (‘BB’),  have rocked showbiz, has been busy acting in a diverse  range of movie and digital assignments. She even acted in this released movie ‘Rabbi’ where “as a demure character, I had to expose only my face.” Currently the bold n’ beautiful, Bidita  seemed ecstatic about her latest digital web-film, a bio-feature, an action-replay of the heart-rending saga of Reshma Pathan—the iconic stunt-lady of Bollywood with hundreds of films to her credit.  On the occasion of International Women’s Day, March 8,tomorrow,  the streaming service ZEE-5 Originals will digitally release the web-film ‘The Sholay Girl’, which is the story of feisty  Reshma Pathan, the fearless, first super-stuntwoman of India. This milestone biopic brilliantly directed by Aditya Sarpotdar is co-produced by Sai Deodhar and Shrabani Deodhar ( of 'Purple Morning' movies)

Afternooon D&C connected with the articulate Bidita for a candid exclusive tete-a-tete

What is it that fascinated you about playing 'de-glam' ‘Reshma Pathan’ on-screen ?
The very fact that I was reliving the life of a super-stuntwoman who dared to perform risky action scenes, mainly to ensure that the actual star-heroines were not exposed to any accidental risk. Right from my childhood, I was always curious as to who were the ‘duplicates’ who perfectly substitute the heroines in the action-stunt-scenes,  It’s an honour for me to play Reshma Pathan, the ‘unsung heroine’  who was also the ‘body-double’ of Hema  (‘Basanti’) Malini in the iconic movie ‘Sholay’(1975)  which ran for five years.

Please continue….
In movies, the theatre-audience never gets to see the stunt-woman, because wherever her face is visible, those frames are deftly edited  in the final cut. Every Indian and NRI Hindi film-buff has watched this classic movie ‘Sholay’ at least two dozen times. But now when they watch our bio-pic film ‘The ‘Sholay Girl’ they will realize how dangerous the  horse-carriage (taanga) chase-by-dacoits stunts-scene were, since Reshma had then got badly injured, during the execution.  After doing a string of serious dramatic movie roles, I was always dying to do an action-movie. So this new  assignment fulfilled my wish. (laughs)

Were you prepared for the action-scenes?
Fortunately, I have been trained in martial arts and yoga and I have an athletic agile body. Mentally, I had conditioned myself to take up this role as a challenge. It was such a surreal, awesome experience going back to the mid-70’s era when ‘Sholay’ was being shot during the shoot of our ZEE-5 film. Luckily, I did’t get injured while shooting our movie stunts, but in the scene where I get  thrashed  by my father with a realistic laathi, I had become black-and-blue.

Your movie also shows Reshma’s harrowing personal life, doesn’t it ?
 That’s right, the film depicts the growing years of Reshma, her career-struggle and the emotional turmoil and agony she faced. Then of course how she became the dare-devil gutsy stunt-woman who defied fear and could even walk through burning fire or crash through glass-sheets.  

This digital web film will be out on International Women’s Day, any  special sentiments  you wish to share?            
 Women have excelled in almost every male-dominated field and are no longer the ‘weaker gender’ and deserve equal recognition on merit.  Even in Bollywood  for ‘unsung’ stunt-women there should be an annual Award-category introduced, where the most risky or difficult stunt by a female artiste is recognized, applauded and awarded.

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