We’re convinced that Pantone selected emerald as the “it” colour for 2013 after seeing Anita Majumdar’s portrayal of Emerald in Midnight’s Children.
We loved Anita’s portrayal of the very driven and unwavering Emerald in Deepa Mehta’s film adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children. The talented actress and writer tells us what it’s been like for her post-Midnight’s Children, and shares her deep desire to host the Shahs of Sunset Reunion show and a secret skincare recipe you need to try.
1. How has playing Emerald changed your career?
Well, playing Emerald has termed me “Mean Auntie Emerald.” I’ve also had people from near and far talk to me about the dress I wore for the TIFF opening of Midnight’s Children, where I wore Trisha Rampersad’s dress that was “Emerald” inspired.
But I think on an artistic level, Emerald has set a bar for the kind of roles I want to play and also what I want to write for myself to play as an actor. I like characters who appear to be contradictions; and more importantly, female characters who can be both damsels and go-getters. Emerald allowed me to play a character role with freedom and eccentricity which is different than playing the protagonist where you can often be relegated to playing “the straight-man.”
2. What’s your favourite emerald – emerald the colour, emerald the stone, Emerald City (Seattle or Oz) or Emeril Lagasse (BAM!)?
I’m pretty classic (or boring, you pick!), so I would stick with emerald the colour!
3. Your next project is…
Re-writing, re-writing and re-writing some more for Same Same But Different! Very few people know how long it takes to get new Canadian plays prepared for rehearsal and production. It’s exhausting and consumes a lot of my time. I’m also writing 3 other plays as well including the Fish Eyes trilogy series. But in 2014, I’ll be back into performance mode!
4. What can you tell us about Same, Same But Different in 140 characters?
A 1st generation Canadian daughter’s struggle with racial self-hatred passed down by her mother & explored against a Bollywood backdrop.
5. When you’re not writing a play, dancing, acting, singing, doing Jock Yoga or offering feminist media critiques via social media, you are…
Running on a treadmill? Doing hot yoga (different from doing Jock Yoga!). Watching REVENGE. (someone on a flight recently told me I look like the South Asian Emily Vancamp!) Seriously though, my work, particularly my writing and dance work is pretty all-consuming. I’m almost always thinking about the work and trying to troubleshoot even when I’m doing my grocery shopping or working out.
So when I do give myself some real downtime, I spend it with close friends. I have some pretty great friendships in my life. People who believe in me and want good things for me. My dearest friends are very patient people! They know that I’ll disappear into my work and imagination for a few weeks (or months!), so when I resurface, I like to spend hours and hours catching up with them and letting them know much I love and appreciate them in my life.
6. Reality or game show you’re dying to host is…
Oh! Hands down the Reunion Show of “Shahs of Sunset”! That show has stolen my heart! The next one would be hosting “The Bachelor.” I read something on Huffington Post analyzing how there’s a surprising number of intelligent, professional women watching “The Bachelor.” It’s fascinating to me why that show is so addictive despite the formula set-up. I think it’s in part our hope that human nature won’t prevail and that we are disappointed when it does. That and… the editing is so slick!
7. What book are you reading right now?
I’m actually reading a lot of plays these days and research pieces. As part of my Governor General Performing Arts Mentorship Prize, John Murrell [celebrated playwright and Anita’s mentor] has allowed me to read a new draft of his previous work “Farther West.” I’m also reading Brian Quirt’s “The Whirlpool” to get a better understanding on how to interpret and communicate dance through the written word. And I swear this is for research, I’m reading the Amar Chitra Katha comic book series! The thing with writing 4 plays at once (and being someone who’s dyslexic) is that your eyes get very tired. Everything I read right now is on point with my work.
8. The role you would drop everything and move to Mumbai for is…
Alright. This is where my inner Bollywood geek comes out. I would have to say it would be Vidya Balan’s role Lolita from Parineeta. I don’t self-identify all that strongly as a Bengali, but Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Parineeta is one of those films that make me want to get back to my Bong roots and drop everything and try my luck in Bollywood. Lolita is such a great blend of tradition, period drama and a strong author-backed female character. A female character who actually has something to do! The burdens Lolita has to sustain while maintaining dignity and grace and weilding a sari is breathtaking (and almost unheard of in Bollywood these days).
I love being able to make my own skincare products because I know exactly what’s going into it and I can scent it with any fragrance I like. My favourite recipe right now is the oil cleansing method. I’ve been using it for a few months now and it’s really changed my life (and my wallet!).
10. Pop Quiz: What can we buy in Aisle 9 at Shoppers Drug Mart?
Yikes! I may be busted here! To be fair though, I never claimed to be a Shoppers expert, but rather a Shoppers enthusiast! And no two Shoppers Drug Marts are alike. Which is partly why I spend so much time there. I’m usually trying to figure out the lay of the land at any new Shoppers I go to. The one by my house, I think Aisle 9 is the Seasonal Allergies & Cold/Flu aisle? But maybe that’s Aisle 7. I’ll check and let you know if I was right!
Midnight’s Children is now available for digital download and on DVD in Canada.
Photography: Jugni Style, Midnight’s Children/Mongrel Media and Zimbio.com