Shilpa Shukla, speaks to Anindya Tripathi about her latest webseries Mentalhood, her experience of acting in a web-series and reading while in self-quarantine.

Q. How is working from home turning out for you?
A. I think for artists the focus has shifted to “self-creation”, there is no serious deadlines now, our work never stops. As for me, right now I am on a retreat. I don’t have television for the past 10 years at home now, so I am spending my time reading, studying. So I am kind of used to this “staying at home” thing.

Q. Tell us aboutMentalhood?
A. I am grateful for this series, its such a paradox that it has come out when people have been asked to stay at home. In such a time of crisis, people are watching and appreciating it, especially mothers. I have been getting a lot of messages and people are saying that its great that they have a show with everyone can relate with. The show has really connected with many people and it is doing great. My character Namrata, is a 21st century woman who is ambitious and believes in this materialistic world. She believes that anything can be controlled by money and technology, which is not the truth that she later discovers. It is a very interesting character arc, and I enjoyed it to the core. I think the beauty about these characters in this entire show is, that initially for all of them it is all about cover-ups. Then they confront the reality and find their own solutions.

Q. Were you comfortable taking up a series where you weren’t the lead, but had to share the screen space with the likes of Sandhya Mridul and Karishma Kapoor amongst others?
A
. I really feel that once you work in an ensemble, the entire ensemble feels like a single organism. It feels wonderful to work on a project together with so many talented people and it is always a lesson to better yourself. Our director is a wonderful visionary who knows how to put people in part of a montage, and use their individual talent for a collective benefit. I had numerous fan moments on the set, but the minute one is in character, everything else disappears. It is after you hear “cut!”, you realise that it is Sandhya Mridul, or Dino Morea or Sanjay Suri. This was my first web series and it I really feel that it helps to get into one’s character fully and completely, which is not the case with cinema. Also, your audience connects with you in a very different and more realistic manner. In web-series, everyone is a protagonist at one point of time.

Q. Will we be seeing more of you?
A. Yes, I was on a sabbatical earlier, but the audience will be seeing more of me now.

Q. Do you feel that you have been type casted after BA Pass? How comfortable are you with grey shades of your characters?
A.I had struggled with that image earlier but now I realise that the audience puts you in an image only of you allow them. And I really believe that an artist should be like water, they have to adapt to any character they are put in. Also I love grey shades, because they give me the space to explore more about the character and myself even.

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