Jennifer Lawrence Isn’t Alone…
Jennifer Lawrence who suffered a mental and physical breakdown while shooting for Darren Aronofsky’s Mother is not alone. Actress Rajshri Deshpande last seen as one of the angry goddesses in Pan Nalin’s film suffered a complete meltdown while shooting for the new highly controversial horror-drama Sanal Kumar Sasidharan’s Malyalam film Sexy Durga.
So harrowing was the experience of doing the role of a runaway girl who along with her Muslim lover elopes and hitchhikes a ride to hell , that it took the young actress months to get out of the depressed mindset.
Says Rajshri, “ Sexy Durga took a toll on me mentally .After every packup when I used to go back to my room I’d cry for hours, feeling helpless, as I couldn’t share what’s happening with me with anyone.The experience of playing this girl on a dark deserted highway with her lover who is unable to protect her from her worst fears, was beyond anything I could imagine, or anyone else close to me could imagine. Forget parents,I couldn’t tell my trauma to even to my friends … I was dead!”
She did contemplate bowing out of this traumatic film. “But I had to be strong.Strong enough to show what happens in the darkness .Strong enough to support such a film which has the power to change the way we look at women .”
Rajshri admits she is no stranger to depression. “This dark depression is with me since my childhood. Not easy to get out of it. But my social work helps me a lot . I have adopted a drought village in Marathwada where I have just completed building 200 toilets .I am even part of a foundation of survivors we have almost 300 girls now . These kind of work gives me strength and helps me to stay away from my depression.”
Sexy Durga raises a palpable fear about the safety of women in our country.
Rajshri films no one is safe. “Not really.Who is safe ? Not just human beings,even animals are not safe either.I fear more about the mindset of our society. Apart from physical there is mental and emotional pressure on women. People who dream and aspire to achieve something are more vulnerable. We really need to be careful with everything. That’s the reason it’s very difficult to get out of Sexy Durga or Laxmi from Angry Indian Goddesses orIsmat Chughtai whom I am playing in Nandita Das’ Manto or social reformer SavitribaiPhule in the film Satyashodhak directed by Nilesh Jalamkar .”
Rajshri is proud play passionate assertive women whose lives are governed by pain and triumph. “These characters their lives , work and pain will live with me forever. I think a woman has the power to carry the entire universe with her.”