‘Kora Kagazz’ taught me about empathy, why we should complain less and be happier: Swastika Mukherjee


Throughout her career, Swastika Mukherjee’s biggest strength has been the ease with which she has adjusted to diverse challenges her craft has offered. The high degree of comfort while acting in light-hearted films, multiplex films with urban appeal and small-budget arthouse films meant for the connoisseurs have created a completely different universe for the powerhouse actor.
Strong roles, stellar acting and killer performances make Swastika unmissable and she has yet again earned accolades playing a juvenile home warden in her latest release ‘Kora Kagazz’, diarected by Navneet Ranjan.
The versatile actress talks about her new release, working with Rajat Kapoor, life of an actor and more. Excepts:
Tell us about the real essence of the film and the character you played…
The intense story of ‘Kora Kagazz’ will make you think twice about life and how we live it. Kora Kagazz revolves around three lost souls a juvenile home warden, played by me, an actor struggling to create art, played by Rajat Kapoor, and a 14-year-old girl with a dark past who now has a home away from home. As a warden of a juvenile home my character comes close to kids below 18 who come in conflict with the law, get an opportunity to correct themselves for a righteous future. The picture might not be bright enough for these children. Often the circumstances that force these kids to commit crime are disturbing. Some face abuse at home, beaten, tortured. They suffer the horrors of society at the very adolescent age and take the wrong path to escape these horrors. I was so moved when I heard the story.
What’s the one takeaway from you character in ‘Kora Kagazz’?
It’s the real essence of empathy that forced me to think differently, “The shooting experience was indeed a learning curve. We often talk about sympathy when discussing the correction homes but what about empathy? To understand and share the feelings of these teenagers you have to see them closely. We have shot the film with kids who have faced the real-life consequences. I gave shots with them, we had lunch together, spoke about so many things and then realized how silly we have become. Absence of simple things in life throws us in crisis, we complain about everything. But what about these kids? They have seen the worst in life and yet they wake up every day and live a life full of challenges, hurdles that we can’t even think off. So, yes this film has taught me a lot of things in life.”
How was your experience of working with Rajat Kapoor?
Frankly speaking, I was just numb when I first met him. For 10-15 minutes initially I was having my fan girl moment. I couldn’t believe that I am sharing screen with The Rajat Kapoor, the Stalwart who can mesmerize you with a single expression. I have seen almost all his films and plays. It was fascinating. When the initial fangirl moment was over I realized humble and nice human being he is. We used to talk on many topics, discuss scenes. It was indeed an amazing experience. His dedication and passion towards his craft is something that is a lesson for all.
Actors often say it’s a huge learning experience and they learned a lot from co-actors? Do you really feel co-actors can actually teach you?
See, nobody can spoon feed you or teach you all the minute details. I have now learnt that co-actors, they may be big or small, they can’t teach you anything. You have to observe them, not only in front of the camera but off the camera as well. What they think about their characters, the subtexts deep inside the dialogues. It’s a long process. For instance, when I did Criminal Justice with Pankaj Tripathi I used to close watch him while he was giving shots. In fact, half of my brain used to concentrate on my shots and the other half on how he is doing it, even during the rehearsals. Whenever we used to get time we would sit and discuss and he would share his life and work experience and I was amazed to hear all these.

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