And Irrfan Khan was very proud of her.
In an interview with me after the film’s release Irrfan Khan had said, “Sutapa has done it all on her own. I am just an actor in the film. My character in Qareeb Qareeb Singlle is….annoying, borderline obnoxious. But he is also a decent human being who respects women and beats up anyone who disrespects them. I had to play him as a coarse even crass man. But still a decent man.It is very important me to show my characters as respectful towards women. When I read the script Yogi came across as someone loud in dress manner and conversation. The kind of attention-seeker who makes you cringe. I had to find the basic core of humanism in him and work my way around that.”
Irrfan Khan liked the way Qarib Qarib Singlle portrayed the female protagonist. “It is a bright rom-com and I like what it has to say about the courtship stage of a relationship when everything is bright and rosy and glowing between the couple when both the people in love with each other are on their best behaviour. It is the most hopeful stage of a relationship and according to me, the best part of a man-woman relationship. Later possessiveness, jealousy, anxiety and insecurities creep into a relationship and cause its downfall.”
After Mira Nair Irrfan Khan got to work with another female director Tanuja Chandra in Qarib Qareeb Singlle.Irrfan disagrees with the contention that women are more sensitive to the nuances of the man-woman relationship. “In Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Sahib Bibi Aur Gangster Returns the Bibi’s part was one of the best written for a female actor. I think filmmakers like Raj Khosla and Vijay Anand understood women as well as women directors, if not better. And it was a man (Shailendra) who wrote Katon se kheench ke yeh aanchal for Waheeda Rehman in Guide. It is the ultimate anthem of women’s liberation.”
Sutapa had said, “Actually, this is the second film of my husband where I am producer. Earlier I had produced Madari. But this time for Qarib Qarib Singlle I must say I’ve been far more hands-on. I did everything on my own. It’s been exhausting but an enriching experience.” Sutapa who has set aside her own ambitions to bring up two sons while husband Irrfan has been out working. “I guess in a way that makes me less of a feminist than some women would like it to be. I am okay with that. In fact I don’t want to be labeled a feminist. I’d rather define my identity in the way that I am most comfortable with. I really think we need to stop stereotyping women. A lot of this image-building of women is based on consumerist theories…women who smoke, talk loudly or abuse are ‘liberated’. No thanks, then I am not liberated.Size 0 is not liberating. It is anorexic,” says Sutapa.
In Qarib Qarib Singlle Sutapa was happy to give us a leading lady who is normal. “Parvathy who plays opposite my husband is a normal healthy girl . The film has a relatable female protagonist. Not some gym-produced wonder-woman. I think we need to make more movies about real characters, people who are like us.”