‘Life is all about ups and downs’

‘When one is low, all you can do is buckle up and get up and prepare for the next challenge.’ 

IMAGE: Anuja Sathe returns in the third season of Maharani. Photograph: Kind courtesy Anuja Sathe/Instagram

Anuja Sathe‘s portrayal of Kirti Singh in Maharani earned her high praise.

Starring Huma Qureshi, the Web series is based on the politics of Bihar in the 1990s and Anuja plays a shrewd political leader in a key role.

The actor, who started her career with Marathi productions, is steadily finding recognition in the Hindi film industry with shows like Ek Thi Begumand Maharani.

“I’m sure that people watch Marathi content. That’s why Marathi actors are picked for their good performances and good work,” Anuja tells Mayur Sanap/Rediff.com.

Maharani returns for a third season on March 7.

When a series reaches its third season, it is a big achievement.

It means people are really loving our show.

We are really looking forward for this season to come out.

It’s going to be even more thrilling, filled with political tactics and a lot of ups and downs and twists and turns.

You play a character with grey shades.

Yeah. Playing a grey character is extremely difficult. It’s not bad, neither good, it’s somewhere in between.

There are occasions where anybody can go overboard, thinking it’s a bad person.

Maintaining that thin line is challenging.

IMAGE: Anuja Sathe as Kirti Singh in Maharani. Photograph: Kind courtesy Anuja Sathe/Instagram

Many actors often talk about taking back something from the character they play. What’s something about Kirti Singh that stayed with you?

What I like about Kirti is that she is extremely calm.

Every step that she takes is with utter calmness and thought-through action. That is something that has stuck with me.

Besides that, I also learned a lot from this show as an actor.

How did you get on board for the project? What was the audition process like?

I had got a call from the casting team for the second season.

By then, the first season of Maharani had already come out, and I had loved it.

I did a normal Hindi audition. They liked it, and I was on board.

Later, for the Bihari accent, the coaching and learning process started to understand the nuances of the lingo.

Photograph: Kind courtesy Anuja Sathe/Instagram

Your mother tongue is Marathi. It must be challenging for you to speak in Bihari. How did you prepare yourself for that?

It was quite tough initially.

When I speak in Hindi, I don’t have a Marathi accent. But Bihari is so different from normal Hindi. It’s little sing-a-song kind of a lingo.

I had a dialect coach on the show.

I used to read the whole script, both male and female parts. I mastered it slowly.

When I came on the floor for the third season, all I needed to do was to polish that accent.

The process was quite easy on the third part.

But yes, it took some time.

What are the struggles one has to go through to land a big show like this?

I have always made my way through auditions.

When I do any audition, I do it with all my heart. I give my 100 per cent.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

What was the lowest moment in your career and how did you overcome that feeling?

There are many such moments, I cannot select one.

Life is all about ups and downs.

When one is low, all you can do is buckle up and get up and prepare for the next challenge. That’s all.

Photograph: Kind courtesy Anuja Sathe/Instagram

You started your career with Marathi films and television. Do you think in the current landscape, the opportunities for good work are far less in Marathi?

No, I don’t think so. Marathi produces great content, it’s not able to reach the audience.

Some provisions should be made for the regional film to be able to reach out to people.

I’m sure that people watch Marathi content. That’s why Marathi actors are picked for their good performances and good work.

But the exposure is still very less for Marathi actors.

Not everybody understands Marathi.

The national language is Hindi. The exposure, in comparison, is less for Marathi.

But these days, people are taking the rights of Marathi films and making them into Hindi. So, it’s reaching out to many people.

I am sure slowly, the Marathi industry will be as big as the South.

IMAGE: Anuja Sathe in Ek Thi Begum.

Your digital debut Ek Thi Begum helped you to build your audience base. How has digital contributed to your identity as actor?

Massively, I would say.

A lot of actors have come into the light because of the OTT platform.

Even if we talk about Maharani, it’s there on one of the most respected platforms, made by one of the most respected directors.

These new opportunities have actually helped me building this image of an actor that I want to be recognised as.

As someone who is so good at her job, do you give in to the pressures of social media?

No. Anything that I post on social media, it’s by my own will.

There are many people who keep telling me that I need to be more active and post this and that. But I do it only when I want to.

I mostly use the platform for promotional activities.

Apart from that, I don’t take it too seriously.