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Narayani Shastri: Playing a eunuch was a huge challenge

Saturday, March 21, 2015
By Chaitanya Padukone

When Bollywood and telly glam-babe Narayani Shastri kept a low profile, speculations were rife that she had discreetly plunged into matrimony. When she ‘resurfaced’ at the music launch of her latest movie ‘Runh’ (debt), she refuted it all. Tossing her tresses she counters. “That’s totally false, I am very much ‘single’. The fact is that I was pre-occupied with shooting for ‘Runh’ directed by debutant Vishal Gaikwad. Out here, I  play a ‘eunuch’ called Rani.
Perhaps, it’s for the first time, in Indian cinema history that a female actress has played a ‘eunuch’. It has always been the prerogative of seasoned male actors. Before he finally approached me, director Vishal had already approached five other actresses, all of whom refused the offer. But for me it was a huge challenge to attempt something, which no actress had dared to, in the past,” insists Narayani, whose actual metamorphosed transgender ‘look’ would be revealed only next month.

“The role also required me to put on about 14 kg weight and wear loud, garish yet attractive make-up,” reveals the actress who was seen in movies like ‘Pak Pak Pakaak’ co-starring Nana Patekar and in ‘Na Ghar Ke Na Ghaat Ke’ with actor-director Rahul Aggarwal. The vivacious Shastri has also acted in a striking role of a sultry bar-dancer in Madhur Bhandarkar’s ‘Chandni Bar’. Music-savvy Narayani was all praise for the westernised song-tracks of her latest movie ‘Runh’ scored by the talented brother duo Sangeet and Siddharth Haldipur.

Enthuses Sangeet, “We have not incorporated any Hindi or English phrases in the lyrics. There is a peppy number sung by Shaan. We have given our innovative best to connect with the cosmopolitan youth and with international audiences. Incidentally, we have also not recorded any songs sung by ‘hijras’,” shrugs Sangeet. Meanwhile director Gaikwad clarifies that the title ‘Runh’ has nothing to do with ‘loans’ or ‘credit’. “It is a sensitive, emotional-romantic  subject which revolves on how difficult it is to repay a ‘love-debt’, especially when its taboo. We also have Manoj Joshi playing a loving guardian ‘eunuch’ while Rajeshwari Sachdev does a  pivotal cameo of a journalist,” he discloses.

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