First Movers in Film, empowered by Bumble, a social networking app, where women make the first move, features women in entertainment who challenge the status quo, rewrite the rules and break stereotypes. Konkona Sen Sharma is one of the finest artists we have in the film industry. She’s given up memorable performances as an actor and also made a remarkable directorial debut in A Death in the Gunj.
Edited excerpts of her conversation with Film Companion editor, Anupama Chopra:
Anupama Chopra: What’s the first move that you made in your professional life that you think has enabled you to be where you are?
Konkona Sen Sharma: I’ve actually not made the first move in my professional life too much because for a long time I was like ‘Hoga, hoga. Nahi hoga, nahi hoga’. Even now there is that sense in me. I don’t know if it’s a defence mechanism. But, you know, I did write a script, I did direct a film…
Anupama Chopra: I was just going to say that directing a film is pretty big.
Konkona Sen Sharma: One of my friends says that I operate out of fear, but my decision making is out of courage. It seems to me that even though I am scared, I have taken up something and later I am thinking, why have I done this? Why have I put myself in this position? You know whether it’s having a child, getting divorced, now having a puppy, or shifting homes, sometimes I have taken these things on and am amazed at myself. I think it’s better not to think about it too much because once you say that you’re going do it then somehow you make it happen and things fall into place.
Anupama Chopra: When I was researching for this interview, I came across an interview you had done in 2013 in which the interviewer is asking you this incredibly ridiculous question. They tell you ‘You’re not good looking in the conventional Bengali way like your mother is. How has that affected you’? I loved your response. You said, ‘I am very confident and personally I think I am quite good looking’.
Konkona Sen Sharma: I think that I was very lucky in the way that I was brought up. My parents and my upbringing was pretty unconventional, so I became very okay with being different. In fact, that is my safe space. I am okay to be a little different. I am okay to be an outsider. I am okay to observe.
I find it remarkable how people feel so confident in remarking on a woman’s appearance so much. I always make it a point to say it back to the man. Especially when they say things like ‘weight put on kiya na?’ or ‘Why have you lost so much?’ So if a man tells me I’m looking nice, I’ll say you’re looking so lovely yourself. I just want it to be equal.
I remember once some actor kissed my hand in public, not in a creepy way. But I was so uncomfortable with this stereotypical female – male situation that I kissed his hands back. I was appalled with myself! So sometimes I am strange and it’s okay.
Watch the full episode of First Movers in Film Empowered by Bumble here: