I want to experiment and challenge myself: Juhi Babbar

Actor Juhi Babbar, recently seen in Hansal Mehta’s film ‘Faraaz’ being streamed on Netflix, where she plays the role of Faraaz’s mother, says she has no apprehensions about playing a certain age. The actor, who made her debut with ‘Kash Aap Hamare Hote’ (2003) adds, “I would like to experiment and challenge myself.”
For Babbar, working with Mehta has been an unforgettable experience considering the commitment and passion the director puts into all his projects.
“It was wonderful to be in an atmosphere where you are part of something that is so sincere and has much truth in it.”
Though she was facing the camera after several years, Babbar remembers the director giving her much confidence and allowing her to explore the character the way she wanted to.
“There was so much freedom, and at the same time, he knew exactly what he wanted. He didn’t ask me to read a line or audition, and was sure that I fitted the role.”
Admitting that she went through a low phase when her first film did not do well, she remembers feeling dejected and unnoticed.
“There was this emotion — can I not act?” But it was theatre that gave her the opportunity to grow and recognise herself as a performer.
“It was the love and support from the live audience that gives me the strength to face the camera again.”
Adding that theatre has been instrumental in putting herself in the space where she is forced to emote varied sentiments, she says, “After so many years on the stage, I feel there is nothing I cannot handle in front of the camera. All I need is a good director and good actors around me.”
While she may not have done much screen work, she feels the appreciation for ‘Faraaz’ will translate into more good roles where she is challenged as an actor.
Daughter of theatre director Nadira Babbar and actor Raj Babbar, she remembers her father saying that she deserved a movie after witnessing her perform in her first play.
“He launched me. My mother too has always been extremely supportive, and I still work with her. When you have talented parents, people do expect you to live up to that name. And there is a lot that I have to live up to.”
For Babbar, the OTT revolution in India has changed the landscape of entertainment. She feels, right now, it is the best phase for Indian actors, especially those who never got the right opportunities.
“Not just actors, look at the kind of work that is being scripted. We see writers and directors willing to tell different stories differently. There is a collective desire to achieve excellence — a perfect phase for the entire industry,” she concludes.

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