Rajshri Deshpande Suffers A Role-Induced Breakdown

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.”

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