Karishma Tanna on playing Jigna Vora in Scoop, “Hansal Mehta sir didn’t want me to copy her characteristics

Karishma Tanna on playing Jigna Vora in Scoop, “Hansal Mehta sir didn’t want me to copy her characteristics

Filmmaker Hansal Mehta’s Scoop is based on journalist Jigna Vora’s ordeal in prison. The show is based on her book ‘Behind Bars In Byculla: My Days In Prison’. Karishma Tanna plays the role of Jigna in the show that has gone on air on Netflix from today. In an exclusive conversation with PosterGuy, Karishma looks back at her experience of shooting a show where she had to play the real character of a jail inmate who goes through a lot in prison for nine months.

Your performance in Scoop is going to be a game-changer for you. Did you meet the real Jigna Vora?
I didn’t meet Jigna until the end of our schedules. Hansal sir was very clear that he wanted to keep my interpretation of the character as open as possible. Because it was inspired by Jigna’s book (Behind Bars In Byculla: My Days In Prison). Hansal sir didn’t want me to copy her characteristics. He wanted me to interpret the character in my own way.

What was your first reaction when you were offered the role?
When I read the script, I was bowled over. Each character was written in detail. After reading the script I was allowed to colour the character’s graph in my own way. Yes, I was given that liberty to emote the way I wanted to.

Hansal gives a lot of room for actors to improvise?
Yes, that makes the actors comfortable. Otherwise, if the director gives very close instructions, the performance looks stiff.

You couldn’t have come out unscathed from playing this character?
I didn’t! When I read about the case online, I was deeply affected. She (Jigna) was in jail for nine months. It was very heart-breaking to know about what she went through. She had a 9-year-old son, and she was in jail for a crime she had not committed. I did a lot of research and of course sir (Hansal) did a lot of research. But we have dramatized the real events a bit.

That is bound to happen?
Yes, this girl has a lot of layers.

This journalist was a quite a go-getter and did she crossed the line?
Yes, if you are a go-getter in your profession, your motivations can be misconstrued, as it was with Jigna. If this is the price she had to pay, what can one say?

As an actor how much did you relate with your character’s ambitions?
(laughs) I too am ambitious, a go-getter and passionate about my work. But I am not crazily ambitious, like Jigna was. I know where to draw the line. I was never desperate for work. I was happy with whatever work God gave me. Whatever is written in my destiny is bound to happen. I know I will finally get what I deserve.

Well, your time starts now after Scoop
Thank you!

Did the trauma of your character affect you?
When I was on the set, I was totally into (the) character. Hats off to the art director for making the jail look so real. And all the actors who played jail inmates actually looked like inmates. The jail personnel who strips me is actually Rasika Agashe. She is the wife of Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, who plays my newspaper editor. We shot this sequence first in my prison experience. So, I already felt vulnerable. I was wondering why my character was being frisked and humiliated when she had done nothing wrong.

I have never seen Zeeshan play such an urban sophisticated character before
Neither have I! I loved teasing Zeeshan on the sets. He is such an introvert. I loved provoking him out of his shell. I share a beautiful relationship with Zeeshan and Harman Baweja. Harman and I know one another for ages. Whether it is Zeeshan, or any other character, Hansal saw things that other directors can’t. How else did he see me playing this character? I heard that a lot of actresses wanted my role. But Hansal sir stood by me. He was asked, “Why Karishma?” He said he saw the same hunger in my audition that Jigna Vora had. He felt I needed to prove my worth just like Jigna did.

Are your networking skills are very inept?
Ha ha, I stopped going to parties and awards functions just for the heck of it. I am not made that way. I was never desperate to get noticed.

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