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Manisha Kelkar’s brilliant avatar in Bandook

Friday, January 18, 2013
By Chaitanya Padukone

If  dude-star-actor Ranbir Kapoor ‘wowed’ audiences with his deaf-mute lead character performance  in the recent movie ‘Barfi’, it’s now the  turn of glam-model-actress Manisha Kelkar  who plays the dumb village girl in this Hindi movie Bandook. The glib Manisha who made her big screen debut a few years ago, with the blessings of noted film-maker Subhash Ghai, appeared ecstatic with the accolades she is getting for her “realistic performance” as the ‘de-glam’ deaf-mute gaon-ki-gori . After being gang-raped and abandoned, her screen-character later finds solace in the company of a caring gun-toting guy (talented co-actor-director Aditya Om) who is enamoured with her and helps her on her revenge mission.

Incidentally, Bollywood runs in Manisha’s blood, because she happens to be the daughter of acclaimed story -screenplay writer Ram Kelkar who had written several of Ghai’s super-hits  including ‘Hero’, ‘Khalnayak’, and ‘Ram Lakhan’.

What made the vivacious Kelkar select a lead role in Bandook where she is literally the ‘odd-woman-out’ in an all-male cast with a volatile political undercurrent subject ? She wears a mock frown as she reacts with a repartee.  “In fact, she gets ‘even’ after facing such sadistic ‘odds’. It’s not always that a heroine gets to play a lead deaf-mute role.

Minus any dialogues, my sensitive character Kajri is required to convey heart-felt emotions and even angry outbursts with animated gestures. The movie exposes the lethal nexus between politics and crime, but it all blends with the flow of the script. Never did I even remotely imagine, that the heart-rending role that I play in Bandook would have a nightmarish, traumatic slightly similar parallel in real-life too (refers to the recent Delhi bus-rape incident). Guess, all girls should be trained in basic self-defence,” she purses her lips.

Wasn’t it true that Manisha felt elated when  Union Minister Kapil Sibal wrote the lyrics of one of the songs ‘Bawre Naina’? She gushes, “I felt delighted and honoured that the fabulous lyrics written by Sibal sir were apparently written and later composed by the brilliant music director Nikhil Kamath after watching my expressive eyes on screen.”

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