Sarita Choudhury talks about being a global star, Asian representation, her movie 'The Green Knight', and more Photograph:( Instagram )
Sarita Choudhury opines that Dev Patel, who shoulders the central role of Sir Gawain in ‘The Green Knight’, was tailor-made for his part and that he was ‘grateful’ just to be able to shoot with human co-stars.
Sarita Catherine Louise Choudhury worked with Denzel Washington in director Mira Nair’s ‘Mississippi Masala’—a filmmaker she now calls her ‘family’. The actress, born to an English mother and an Indian-Bengali father—now in her 50s, has touched the zenith of her career with movies like the ‘Mockingjay’ franchise and has, self-admittedly, gone through relatively gloomy phases in her career, too.
But, boy... is she back with a bang! In 2021 alone, the actress has featured in David Lowery’s mutli-starrer ‘The Green Knight’ and has also joined the cast of ‘Sex And The City’ reboot, ‘And Just Like That...’. So has she, along with an army of other Indian-origin actors, led the way for other Asian actors to follow? “I think the way you ‘pave’ the way for others is, I guess, to do what you love, study hard, and somehow something will happen, even if you start with playing Ophelia alone in your bedroom!” she tells us.
In an exclusive interview with WION, Sarita Choudhury shares her experience with working with Dev Patel, why she admires Priyanka Chopra Jonas—the producer—and what it means to truly be a global star.
Excerpts from our conversation with her:
‘I talked to a friend of mine, who studied witchcraft for the role’
In order to render complete justice to the role of Morgan le Fay—an enchantress and King Arthur’s half-sister—in ‘The Green Knight’, the actor sought help from friends who practise witchcraft and the helmer himself. “The script was so well written, I felt I understood the character immediately. A mother who loves her son but wants him to find his independence and a woman who is a believer in the spiritual magical world of nature and spells,” Sarita tells us.
“I talked to a friend of mine, Livia , who studied witchcraft from the point of view of ritual, nature and almost a pragmatic essential part of us. Also, David Lowery the director is very knowledgeable and specific. He was so helpful,” she goes on to add.
‘The film world and ‘representation’ is finally catching up with how the artistic world sees itself’
Sarita opines that Dev Patel, who shoulders the central role of Sir Gawain in ‘The Green Knight’, was tailor-made for his part and that he was ‘grateful’ just to be able to shoot with human co-stars. “I think Dev was perfect casting for this role. He is talented, funny, a young man becoming a man, an “everyman” type… Dev and I had so much fun on set. He had spent days shooting alone in the forest before I met him to do our scenes, and I think he was just grateful to have scenes with other actors and not just a horse and the Green Knight!”
Given her repertoire both in India and international waters, it is safe to say that Priyanka Chopra Jonas is the flag bearer of the Indian Diaspora in Hollywood—among others, of course—and she and a handful others, Dev Patel included, have (considerably) paved the path for others to tread on. Well, Sarita agrees partially. “I think the way you ‘pave’ the way for others is, I guess, to do what you love, study hard, and somehow something will happen, even if you start with playing Ophelia alone in your bedroom!... The film world and ‘representation’ is finally catching up with how the artistic world sees itself anyway.”
‘Priyanka Chopra Jonas does everything for us to be seen’
Whether there’s an insatiable hunger among the Indian school of artists to be labeled as ‘global’ stars is moot, says Sarita. “As an actor you have dreams of the kind of films you want to be in, the good scripts, the talented directors. Whether it’s a brilliant Indian director like Mira Nair or Zoya Akhtar shooting in India or wherever, or a great American director here, you hope to be part of it…. In terms of “Global,” as actors we don’t really have any intent to be perceived globally in a certain way. But if that is the result of following your dream no matter what the obstacles that is amazing. My dad had seen Satyajit Ray’s films in India when he was young, my mum had seen the same films in England, I saw them in Canada when I was at university. That’s global! And (that) makes me proud,” she says.
As for her ‘Evil eye’ producer Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Sarita says she is in awe of her. “(From) Priyanka, I learnt is (that she is) a really good producer and did everything to promote us and help our film get seen. A job I have never done but admire!” concluded the actor.
‘The Green Knight’ is releasing in theatres in India on August 27.