Interview

I don't remember being this absorbed in a role in my life: Nehha Pendse Bayas on her June character


The actress plays a guilt-ridden woman who has come to Aurangabad to find out something about her husband's past. 

Suyog Zore

Nehha Pendse Bayas has taken on a completely new avatar in Suhrud Godbole and Vaibhav Khisti's drama June. She plays a chain-smoking guilt-ridden woman who goes to Aurangabad in order to delve into her husband's past.

June is one of those projects that gave me complete fulfilment, says Siddharth Menon

The actress has worked in Marathi and Hindi films and TV shows over the course of her almost-20-year career. She has also played serious roles in films such as Natasamrat (2016), but the artiste believes her role in June was her toughest and unlike anything she had done.

June review: Captivating tale of two flawed individuals helping each other come to terms with their mistakes

In an interview with Cinestaan.com, Pendse Bayas explained why she chose this particular project and opened up about the challenges she faced while bringing her character to life. Excerpts:

What can you tell us about your character? 

This girl comes to Aurangabad because her husband is from the city and she wants to find out something about his upbringing. And the best way to do that is by finding out where the person has grown up and got his thinking from. That's why she goes to Aurangabad and meets the other characters.
But more than the character, what's important is the journey of the character. Not just this particular character, but every character in this film goes on a journey to deal with issues that are bothering them and in this quest, they land up helping each other unknowingly.

What was it about the film that resonated with you the most?

The thought process behind the film excited me. They wanted to talk about issues that are usually not talked about in Marathi films. We are shedding light on taboo issues that make us uncomfortable.  And the narrative of the film and the way it is streamlined are very interesting and new for Marathi films.

You have not played this kind of role before. Did you have to do any extra preparations for the role? 

Absolutely. We did a lot of workshops. First of all, this character is nothing like Nehha Pendse in real life. She has faced certain trauma about which Nehha Pendse, as a woman, has no idea. So it was very important for me to understand her problems, be sympathetic and then act. So rigorous workshops were done. Only when we had the confidence that we were prepared, we left for Aurangabad.

Nehha Pendse Bayas and Siddharth Menon in June

How was your equation with Siddharth and the director duo?

It was beautiful. Here are a bunch of people who have always done quality work. Even though this is their first film as directors, they have always been associated with quality work. This shows in their work. When you are working with people like them, it's a very different and enriching experience.

Suhrud Godbole said that you would surprise everyone with your performance.

I have never done any work which required me to be a part of a workshop or to disconnect from Nehha Pendse and connect to a different personality. So, in a way what they have said is true. I have never given that kind of commitment to any of my work in the past. The way I have lived this character for 25 days, I don't remember being this absorbed in any other character so in that sense it was very demanding work. I'm really glad that finally, something like that has come my way.

You have also turned producer with this film. Was this always on the cards?

Yes, I was thinking of becoming a producer at some point in time. After spending a certain amount of time in the industry and getting a better idea about what it is all about you also want to be a part of it in more than one capacity. Nikhil Mahajan [the film's producer and writer] and I have been friends for some time because our thinking is very much alike. So we discussed matters and realized that we should not only be thinking alike, we should also be doing something together, and that's how June happened. 

What draws you to films now?

For me, the story and director are the two things that matter the most while accepting any role.

Has getting married in any way had an impact on the kind of roles you are offered?

Not exactly. Before I was married I did May I Come in Madam? and now that I'm married I'm doing Bhabhi Ji Ghar Pe Hain. So I don't think being married has affected the quality of work coming my way. It's just that with age, you want to grow and expand your horizons. And June is one such experiment. It's not about lack of opportunities or doing female-oriented films or anything else; it's just about your experience in the industry and taking it ahead. 

It's been almost two decades since you started acting. Has your approach to the craft changed over the years?

Yes, definitely. That's the reason I decided to do June. When you join the film industry and want to make a name for yourself, your priorities are different but once you come to a certain stage in life, your priorities change. That's exactly what has happened to me. After spending two decades in the film industry, my priorities have changed. And now I'm doing something it. 

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