Amrita Puri is currently making the buzz for her upcoming project Ranjish Hi Sahi. However, the actor ended 2021 with a blast through her short film titled Clean. The actress was seen in the role of an elder sister along with Aisha Ahmed, who played the younger sister. Zoya Parvin, who has been an assistant director on films like Gully Boy and Raees, made her directorial debut with the short film.
The trio came together to speak about their recently released project, which talks about the complexities in sibling relationships. Excerpts…
Aisha, Adulting, Balcony Buddies and Clean. 2021 had been quite a year for you, no?
It’s been nice. I almost feel like I’m covering different platforms on the internet. Clean is special because it’s a very different character, unlike all the other characters I played. This one’s very special.
What attracted you to the role? Was it the fact that you were the one getting a clean slate?
Not really. I read the story and realized that nobody talks about sister relationships and what goes on behind just tagging two people as siblings. I liked the complexities of that, understanding between them. When you see sisters who have a slightly longer age gap than just one of two years, there’s almost a motherly sort of relationship. The complexities and layering of the characters is why I really wanted to be a part of the project.
Since you are the one getting a clean slate in the show, as a person, do you believe in second chances?
Of course. I believe in second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh. We have one life. Nobody comes with a handbook ready, right? It takes time for people to learn and understand what life is about, so, yeah, I do believe in second chances.
Amrita, you have explored OTT more recently. Would you say that it is your second innings after films?
Second, third, fourth - it will keep going.
Zoya, you explored acting with Gully Boy. Was that just a one-time thing? Are you exploring or are sure about direction?
It was a brief cameo. It was a three second role where I was asked to come to the stage. I’m definitely not exploring acting and would like to focus on direction.
Amrita, what went behind playing Meher?
I play the role of an elder sister in Clean named Meher. In real life though, I am a younger sister. The role-reversal was very interesting for me. The whole story is covered in the span of one day - from morning till evening. In that, you see the history, which unfolds with the story. You get to know why the sisters are upset with each other. Without flashbacks, you keep discovering their entire life history.
Zoya, how did the idea pop? I’m especially curious to know why you picked a single day to talk about the story of sisters.
It was just the need to create a complex story which explores the dynamics of the sibling relationship. It’s basically about how things play out - about how sometimes there’s rivalry and much more that goes on beyond being rooted in love. The idea came from just wanting to explore the dynamic between two sisters and also certain life experiences that I wanted to try and bring and make it a little bit more possible.
Was the story inspired from real life?
It is an amalgamation of my own lived experiences. It is about people I’ve known and met. There are parts about me too. It is one of those relationships where you are almost biologically programmed to love the other person because they are in your family. You don’t have a choice.
Do you really believe that you are forced to love your family and don’t have a choice?
It’s more of a joke, really. However, I think your family, especially your siblings are the first friends you have in life because they are there at home and your parents force you to be like friends at that point. As you grow older, you realize that despite the fights, you two can really be friends. My brother and I connected so much more growing up when we wanted to kill each other all the time as kids, much to my parents’ annoyance. We grew up and became very good friends. He is one of my best friends who I confide in. I call him when something goes wrong, so I feel it starts off as a forced connection and then becomes something that you hopefully have for life.
You just mentioned that love grows as you age. Why not explore that and pick just a day to show the siblings’ relation?
With Clean, you get to see a relation that could be relatable to many people. While there is a lot of love between siblings, the relationship is much more complex. There could be frustrations and resentment. There are many things we don’t talk about because we are forced to love our siblings. Thus, when we sweep many things under the rug, it grows over a long time. In the film, there are two sisters who are very different - one of them being the nurturer and the other a free spirit. You see how they come together and how their personalities collide.