Her journey has finally borne fruits. TV actress Ridheema Tiwari makes her Bollywood debut in the Vidya Balan-starrer Begum Jaan. She recounts, “I started auditioning for films in 2010. I moved to TV when nothing materialised. An actor should just do her best.
Having said that, there's no substitute for hard work. Begum Jaan is a dream debut. People work all their life to get a meaningful role, but it came to me as my first film. Begum Jaan will never be forgotten and its strength is its ensemble cast that shares a common passion and enthusiasm.“ Ask her if she ever felt intimidated while working with powerhouse performers like Vidya, and she replies, “Working with them gave me a high but I wasn't intimidated. We were comfortable with each other because of the 45-day workshop before the shoot. It didn't feel like we were working. We never realised that the camera was rolling. I will always cherish this experience.“
The film is centred on a brothel located on India-Pakistan's border, chalked out in 1947. The women in the film appear to be the resilient type who fight till their last breath for everything they call their own. “Amba is crude and straightforward,“ says Ridheema when asked about her character. She adds, “Amba is also funny and sensitive. I didn't wear make-up or style my hair because it doesn't go with the era in which the film is set. I didn't even wax or tweak my eyebrows.“ Newcomers usually choose glamorous roles for their debut. When asked what made her choose a rustic character instead, Ridheema chooses to Credit her director (Srijit Mukherji) for it.
“Srijit convinced me. I was stunned to see myself on screen. I couldn't believe I had pulled off the character the way I did. I didn't see Ridheema. It was Amba throughout.“