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Bollywood is About Playing Within Film Families, Says Prachi Desai

Prachi Desai in a still from her comeback film 'Silence... Can You Hear It?'

Prachi Desai in a still from her comeback film 'Silence... Can You Hear It?'

After a gap of over four years as she gears up to step into the limelight once again, Prachi Desai has opened up about what took her so long to return to films.

Returning to the spotlight isn’t always easy, says Prachi Desai, who is all set to make a comeback in Bollywood with a murder mystery Silence… Can You Hear It? Prachi made her acting debut with Ekta Kapoor’s popular TV production Kasam Se in 2006. She successfully made a transition to the films with Farhan Akhtar-starrer Rock On in 2008 and went on to appear in hit films like Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai (2009), Bol Bachchan (2012), and Azhar (2016). But soon after that the actress disappeared from the big screen.

Now as she gears up to step into the limelight once again, Prachi has opened up about what took her so long to return to the movie world and why she chose ‘Silence… Can You Hear It?’ as her comeback film. The actress said she was not very good with marketing herself and networking with people in the industry which, according to her, is still largely controlled by a handful of film families.

“I think everybody was playing the wait-and-watch game back then because the television artistes were not considered so seriously for movies at that time. Secondly, we have all seen how much Bollywood is about playing within the film families so that’s another reason. Also, I have always been a private person and somebody who never dabbled in any clans which sometimes help. So, as a teenager I was just all by myself. I didn’t understand about the business then,” said Prachi.

“To add to that, I was getting repetitive offers. I had to choose from what I thought was best for me at that point of time.”

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Prachi, whose film is set to release on 26th March on ZEE5, said that the arrival of OTT platforms have changed this scenario for better and given opportunities to actors like her to experiment and take on unconventional parts.

“Imagine, it took a female debut director to wake up to me and see me in a different light and give me this role which I could have done even when I was a teenager. I think that’s how present time and OTT and also a lot of new directors and writers who are coming to the business are giving all of us an opportunity to do what we have been waiting for. There came a point when I decided that I couldn’t keep doing what I have done again and again. I just took my time and let some opportunities pass however big they might have been. But I knew at that point they were not right for me. I came to a point where I was pretty sure that I wanted to do something different and it could be as simple as a thriller like Silence and it’s been worth the wait,” she said.

The Aban Bharucha Deohans directorial is a murder mystery, starring Manoj Bajpayee as the hot-headed ACP Avinash who is assigned the murder case of a retired Justice’s daughter found dead under mysterious circumstances. Accompanying him on the case is Prachi Desai and Sahil Vaid. The film also stars Arjun Mathur, who seems to be playing the antagonist in the film.

On collaborating with Manoj in the film, Prachi said, “Manoj sir is an institution of acting in himself. I’d just spend hours watching him perform on the set and I feel like one film is not enough to imbibe everything that I can possibly from him because there’s so much to learn from him. With him, no two takes are the same. I feel like his dedication is exemplary because he has done so many films and he takes every single role so seriously. I’d also like to give him a lot of credit for putting all of us at ease and it was because his smiling welcome to us on the first day that just made us feel like we were a team.”

Last year, Prachi created a stir on social media after she corrected Ajay Devgn when he missed mentioning all the cast members of Bol Bachchan in the film’s 8-year anniversary post. Ajay’s tweet only mentioned Abhishek Bachchan and Amitabh Bachchan, who made a special appearance in the movie. In her tweet, Prachi called Ajay out for not mentioning her, Asin, Krushna Abhishek, Archana Puran Singh, Asrani, Neeraj Vohra, Jeetu Verma and other members of the team. Prachi’s tweet had garnered several likes and retweets, with fans praising her for “calling out” a Bollywood superstar like Ajay Devgn and “rightly” asking her due credit.

Talking about the whole episode, Prachi said, “I feel so fortunate to have been part of work that probably made people remember me for a while. Having said that, we are actors and more often than not we are put on such a big pedestal that eventually what is made out of our comments is very big and different. However, it’s a very basic thing to acknowledge everyone and be a team player. I know for a fact that Ajay sir is a complete team player, not only him but Abhishek and everyone else. We had a blast making that film which is why I was so comfortable to even just tell my co-star that ‘hey, you forgot to tag us.'”

“Also, it made me realise that over the years it was just forgotten or taken for granted that only some people would be mentioned or given the credit and that does happen a lot. In a film, we are the only front faces and a lot of people tend to be forgotten and sidelined. I don’t think that in any field it should be okay. I feel everyone needs an equal footing.”