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Imperative that my body language should be like the team captain: Smita Tambe on Panga

Actress Smita Tambe, who plays the captain of Indian women's kabaddi team, spoke about her experiences of working in the sports film.

Suyog Zore

The Kangana Ranaut-starrer Panga is a story of a woman who makes a comeback in the sport of kabbadi at the age of 32. The performances of actresses Kangana Ranaut and Richa Chadha have been lauded, but along with them, another actress has also received appreciation for her short, but important role. 

Smita Tambe, known for her performances in films like 72 Miles - Ek Pravas (2013), Partu (2015), and Bioscope (2015), plays the captain of Indian women's kabaddi team in the film.

Talking about her rigorous training regime for her role, Tambe said, "I used to get up every day at 6 am for a year and a half. I had to follow a strict diet like a real kabbadi player would. It was imperative that even my body language should look like I’m the captain of the team."

Interestingly in the film her character is also named as Smita Tambe. Talking about this coincidence she said, "Actually, I’m also surprised. This is the first time I shared a name with the character I’m playing. Initially in the script, my character was only referred as a captain, but it was our director Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari who decided to name my character on my real name."

The actress married theatre actor Virendra Dwivedi last January and is credited as Smita Dwivedi in Panga.

The actress also shared her experience of working with Tiwari and lead actress Kangana Ranaut. “Ashwiny ma'am has a very charming personality. On the last day of the shoot, she gave me a handwritten letter. I was completely overwhelmed. I have framed that letter and hanged it on the wall in my house," she said. 

"I am a big fan of Kangana, she is a mature actress. I used to watch her on set. She would completely immerse herself in the role. She would intensely study the footwork of kabbadi players and the other minute details. There is a scene in the film where captain Smita says to Jaya (Kangana Ranaut), 'Chalo, isi bahane tum mat pe to aayi'. Kangana was watching my reaction on the monitor. After that scene, she told me you have intense eyes. I will never forget that compliment," she recalled.

Panga, also starring Jassie Gill and Neena Gupta, is now running in theatres.