Melbourne, March 7: Australia’s Bollywood star, Pallavi Sharda’s next film, the period drama, Begum Jaan hits theatres worldwide on April 14.

Directed by Srijit Mukherjee, the film is produced by Mukesh Bhatt’s Vishesh films. The film also stars Hindi film stalwarts Vidya Balan, Naseeruddin Shah and Ila Arun.

The opportunity to work with Vidya Balan in Begum Jaan was “one of my career’s greatest choices,” Pallavi said about sharing screen space with the National Award winner.

“Vidya is just an exceptional human being and actress,” Pallavi said.

“It is a privilege to work with Srijit Mukherjee,” she added.

Pallavi will be seen in a pivotal role as ‘Gulabo’ in the Vidya Balan starrer, which is remake of Bengali film based on the times of 1947 partition. Gulabo is a strong-headed Punjabi girl from Hoshiarpur, who has seen both trauma and light in her life.

Pallavi who is of Punjabi origin and speaks Punjabi, said she yet found an intuitive connection to Bengal, where the story is set.

“I enjoyed this process throughout the shoot, uncovering more synergy between myself and the screenplay every day.

“My character is very strong… Someone who knows her mind. The character has its own graph in the film, and that is very important for me as an actor.

Talking about Begum Jaan, she said that the film “is about human triumph. The story is about some strong women. It is very exciting for me to be a part of this film. It is very rare to get this type of a challenging role.”

The film was majorly shot in Bolpur, West Bengal, where the original Bengali film was shot.

shooting for Begum Jaan in Bolpur - first look - on the right in black Pallavi
shooting for Begum Jaan in Bolpur – first look (Pallavi, 2nd from right)

The 28-year-old actress said she feels fortunate to work in every film she has been offered.

“Every film is different. As an actor, you have to keep experimenting with different roles. Begum Jaan has given me that opportunity. So, I think it’s going to be good.”

Pallavi was last seen in Oscar-nominated film Lion, the story of a boy’s search for his home in a cross-cultural setting. She filmed on location in Melbourne with actors Dev Patel and Rooney Mara and director Garth Davis.

She played the role of an Indian student living in Melbourne – ironic that Pallavi is a Melbourne born and bred girl.

Lion was shot in Melbourne, Tasmania and West Bengal.

Pallavi also stars in international-Australian co productions films Shambhala and Sedition (under production).

A graduate in Law (LLB) and Media and Communications (BA), and French (dip.), Pallavi is an advocate for women’s empowerment and is an advisor to eKutir, a social enterprise based out of Odissa. She is the ambassador for the organisation’s sanitation initiative known as SVADHA.

Pallavi speaks actively on the topics of Asia literacy in Australia, multiculturalism, and child sexual abuse in India. She is also a trained Bharatha Natyam dancer.

When Pallavi is not shooting or performing, she takes off to a new corner of the globe, practices yoga and is always in search of good conversation and the next best flat white.

Shalini Singh

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