Remember the girl who played Noorie, the girl Ranveer Singh's character was supposed to get hitched to in Zoya Akhtar's Dil Dhadakne Do earlier this year? She's back in another film that releases this Friday — as the lead this time — in Madhureeta Anand's hard-hitting drama Kajarya.
A far cry from Akhtar's glamourous, sanitised world in which people are rich enough to afford luxury cruise liner vacations in the Mediterranean, Kajarya tells the story of a reporter who discovers how a village in Haryana practices wanton female infanticide under the smoke-screen of superstition.
Where Dil Dhadakne Do was a big-budget multi-starrer produced by big studios, Kajarya is a low-budget indie produced partially by Overdose Joint, founded by maverick Bengali filmmaker Q.
The former — whose cast included Ranveer Singh, Priyanka Chopra, Anil Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, and Farhan Akhtar — was a massive production with a large crew that "took care of everything". Kajarya, on the other hand was bare-bones. "I wore no make-up throughout the film, didn't have a hairstylist, nearly all of the film was shot in natural light, and we stayed in basic guest-houses that would have no electricity half the time," she says, in a conversation with HuffPost India. "Nothing was dressed up or prettied up. You had to live the character."
The aspects of patriarchy that Kajarya explores resonated with her instantly when she first read the script two years ago. "I think most people from urban areas, or those who have very protected upbringings — like me — know about these things, but don't think of it as happening in our immediate environment. When we see it on the news, we tend to think it's happening in a different part of India, the one that doesn't affect you." The film, directed by Madhureeta Anand, was the first one she signed. However, it took longer to release as it spent some time touring the festival circuit, which paid off in the form of an award for Best Foreign Film at last year's Silk Road Festival in Xian, China; and a few positive reviews.
Sud hails from Delhi, where she grew up in a very "academically oriented family" that had nothing to do with the film business. A politics and economics grad from New York University, she says she's making a conscious choice to establish herself as an actress, rather than someone in it for the glitz and glamour. "I like the idea of different roles tapping into different aspects of myself," she says.
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