Ratna Malay-actress of Black Widow-film about Muslim woman
New bee Ratna Malay takes pride in commencing a career with a serious film like ‘Black Widow’. She gets candid in an interview and shares her experience and opinion on the film.
Shed some light on the storyline?
‘Black Widow’ is about a woman called Zoya who is a riot victim. She loses her family in the riot and is gang-raped. Story in the film often goes back and forth as Zoya is frequently trying to connect her past with present. She is constantly battling within herself whether to attain salvation or seek revenge. At times she hallucinates about her husband and child during this battle. As the women during the riot and all those who were gang-raped were hidden behind the veil during this carnage, the film is titled ‘Black Widow’.
Humm sounds interesting. What kind of preparations did you do to get into the skin of the character?
It is once-in-a-lifetime role. As a newcomer to get such a challenging role is a dream come true. My character in the film is of a riot-victim Zoya. She is making her living in the city as prostitute and tries to connect her past with the present. All the time she contemplating and battling within on making a decision between seeking revenge and attaining salvation. As far as preparations are concerned, I did meet prostitutes and visited dance bars to get the hang of their mannerism and approach. Our research team was in constant touch with me and kept me updating on various things. Also, I read books on the riot victims and what they went through. This helped me extensively to get into the skin of the character.
How was the experience of working in a serious film like this?
As the film is about a Muslim woman who is a riot victim- relating to her trauma was mentally exhausting. I also wore Burkha for the first time in the film. We have worked all night in Gujarat and Mumbai. As we use to shoot outdoors at midnight, we did face a hostile atmosphere at times from a certain public. It was mentally strenuous performing such a serious role. Lines itself were so strong that I didn’t even need the glycerin.
What message does the film convey?
Audience will definitely relate to the film as this could happen to any woman walking on the streets. The story of the film ‘Black Widow’ is of a normal woman leading a normal life whose life shatters after one incident. Film is not trying to preach anything but it certainly makes people aware of the aftermath of such riots. Just as one would want to watch a film based on World War II from Europe, or The civil War that hit US, I would say that Black Widow is a must watch film entirely for the same reason. As we all want to know why such cold-blooded incidences had happened and what happens to the lives of those victims’ consequently one must watch the film.
What kinds of roles would you like to do in future?
I would like to do mainly performance-oriented films.Strong character with lot of substance appeals me. I would like to do films like ‘Casablanca’, ‘Gone with the Wind’ etc. As far as getting bold, onscreen is concerned it entirely depends on the script.
-Deepa Mishra/ Sampurn Media.