Box office success was once a barometer of accomplishment for Sushmita Sen but the Aarya star says she is now more focused on building a body of quality work.
The actor, who gained popularity for her roles in films like Biwi No.1, Filhaal, Aankhen, and Main Hoon Na among others, returned to mainstream acting after a break of five years with the 2020 release of Disney+Hotstar series, Aarya.
“When I joined the film industry my dreams were all about hits and how many thousands of crores one can make in terms of your reach of a film’s hit.
“Now, it’s about the legacy of leaving behind a body of work that you can then look back at and other people can, because cinema lives on longer than YouTube and lives on forever. So, when they look back at it, they should say she was a good actor, Sen told PTI in an interview.
In her second acting stint, Sen has featured in Taali and Aarya, whose third season released on Friday on Disney+Hotstar.
Sen, 47, said she is eager to do movies as she made her debut into acting on the big screen but the role has to be author-backed.
“I haven’t found a script that makes me feel like this is the one that I would like to do to reach a cinema audience. It has to be something that allows me to entertain the hell out of you for two-and-half hours and you come out of there saying, I just loved it’… It has to be something that will leave an impact and it needs to be author backed.
Created by Ram Madhvani and Sandeep Modi, Aarya is the official remake of the popular Dutch crime-drama Penoza, which revolves around a middle-aged woman and her struggle to save her family.
A former Miss Universe, the actor said that playing strong characters in Aarya and Taali — of a mother and a transgender activist respectively– has inspired her to work harder in her future projects.
“It’s a huge honour for any actor to get to play these characters (Aarya from Aarya‘ and Gauri Sawant from Taali’) in their lifetime. But then for an actor like me who left and came back, not at her prime, to get that opportunity is a huge honour and it’s a huge responsibility as well. It’s where I have to pull up my socks every single day and know that not everyone gets this and that I have to make the most of it, she added.
Sen’s character of Aarya has transitioned from being a homemaker in season one to becoming a don in the third part of the show.
For the third season of the show, Sen trained in Kalaripayattu.
“I thought it was going to be very difficult but it was actually made fun by the action crew. Manohar (Verma) sir is our action director and the teachers that came in from Kalaripayattu organization in Kerala, all of them made it pretty much like a workshop. We weren’t using words, we were using swords but it was fun, she added.
The actor said there was a time when she would be afraid of reviews but she has now learned to take both positive and negative reviews in her stride.
“I don’t know if reviews are the right way of measuring success. But people, that’s direct feedback and I have very honest feedback on Instagram. There are people who still love me but they are pretty blatant when it comes to (certain things), they are like, I did not like this and you can do better’.
“…Now, I look forward to it because when I get that, it’s very constructive criticism. I do want feedback, good bad or ugly, she said.
Aarya 3 will also see actors Sikander Kher, Vikas Kumar, and Maya Sarao among others reprising their roles from previous seasons. Actor-singer Ila Arun is the new addition to the show.