The opportunity to make your debut with a film that is jointly produced by Yash Raj Films and Dibakar Banerjee is something that does not come to you every day. Delhi girl Shivani Raghuvanshi was elated when she had bagged the lead role in Titli, a film that was to be produced by these two heavyweights, but was slightly disappointed with the fact that her role was not that of a conventional heroine. The film was screened at Cannes Film Festival last year and is now is ready for a theatrical release. The actress seems happy with all the accolades that has come her way and shares her excitement as the Kanu Behl directed film marches towards its theatrical release.
You are making your debut with a Yash Raj Films production but Titli is far removed from the world that the banner is generally associated with. The film looks dark and gritty. Do you think it turned out to be an ideal debut for you?
Initially, I had my apprehensions as I wanted to make my debut with a film that would be more commercial. However, I feel very happy now as the film has got me a lot of recognition at festivals. The film is just a week away from release and I am keen to know how the audience react to it. I am glad that I got to make my debut with a film that has been produced by Yash Raj Films and Dibakar Banerjee.
You come from an academic background. How did acting happen?
When I was in ninth standard, I decided that I would become an actor or pursue a career in direction. After completing my high school, I informed my parents about my decision. Nobody in my family is into arts. My dad was not too happy with it and did not allow me to go to Mumbai. He asked me to finish my graduation as he believed that in three years I would get over my dream of getting into the movies. I studied Botany but did not give up on my dream.
The film was shot last year and made rounds of several film festivals. Did the wait for the theatrical release make you anxious?
I did get a little impatient as it was my first film. My family and friends used to inquire me about the release of the film. I knew that the film would release as it has been backed by big names but was not sure as to when it would eventually release. The wait was worth it and I think the film is releasing at the right time.
Titli has been shot in Delhi and you come from the same city. The film shows a dark and murky side of the city. Were you, in any way, familiar with the milieu of the film?
Though I am from Delhi, I was not too familiar with Sangam Vihar, the area which we shot the film in. People were deprived of basic things like food, water and electricity. The kind of life they led was very difficult from the way we lived. We shot the film over a period of forty days and ended up spending a lot of time with the people living the area. That also helped me understand the characters and milieu of the film better.