The Little India Dozen
Ayesha Dharker turns Goddess
She is the lead actress from The Terrorist and The Mystic Masseur as well as the voluptuous Bollywood star from Bombay Dreams. Now Ayesha Dharker stars in a reading of Goddess – the film the late Ismail Merchant was to make with Tina Turner.
1. How did ‘The Goddess’ project come about?
A.. The Rubin Museum of Art in New York decided to do a play reading based on Suketu Mehta’s screenplay, with Zakir Hussain’s music as a live component, using the dramatic setting of the museum.
2. What was unusual about this play?
A: It starts in an unconventional way, with the audience travelling with the actors through different parts of the museum, and being drawn into the performance. We were blessed with fantastic live musicians. Zakir’s brother agreed to play for us with Sultan Khan’s son and they really added all the atmosphere we needed to create the illusion of taking the audience to ancient India.
3. You’ve also acted in Ismail’s movie The Mystic Masseur What were your emotions on doing this play now, after his death?
4. Your connection with Ismail goes way back?
4. What do you think was unique about Ismail as a film maker?
5. Any fun memory of Ismail you’d like to share?
6. The best part of doing The Goddess?
7. How did it feel to play Shakti/Kali?
8. How challenging was it to perform a song meant to be sung by Tina Turner?
9. What do you have cooking now?
10. You’re hopping among three cities – Bombay, London and New York. Where do you feel you truly belong?
A: Luckily I don’t have to choose, but when people ask me where I’m from, I find myself saying I’m from Bombay, even though I haven’t lived there for ten years now!
11. Do you have a special talisman or lucky anything?
A: I have a few. I always buy a little Ganesha to put in my flat, and I have to confess I have a tiny one in my handbag.
12. What’s your comfort food and what do you enjoy when you want to celebrate?