Did you know Aahana Kumra first said no to Lipstick Under My Burkha for Amitabh Bachchan?

Actor Aahana Kumra’s best and worst career moments seem to be interlinked. The actor revealed that she almost said no to Alankrita Shrivastava’s Lipstick Under My Burkha, which was offered to her in 2014 when she was shooting for her debut show Yudh. The film remains one of Ahana’s best performances.

“I remember we were shooting for Yudh. We would shoot for 15 days a month and then take a long break because Mr Amitabh Bachchan was doing a lot of other projects in the middle. I literally gave one year and three months to that project and didn’t take up any work in that time frame. It was then when I was offered Lipstick… I read the script and I was like, ‘oh, my God, this is insane.’ I could not believe that somebody is making a film like that. A film that was so out there and spoke about sexuality so openly. I thought the director was crazy. I remember when I read the script, I went to my chief assistant director (of Yudh) and said, ‘Listen, I think I need a few days off in this schedule. Can I take so many days off because I think the shooting in Bhopal and I need to do this film.’ He asked me, “How will you say no to Mr. Bachchan’s dates?” Of course, the answer was I can’t. So, I said, “Okay, I’ll just say no,” Aahana narrated to indianexpress.com.

But destiny played its part and months later, Aahana got a call from a casting agent for the same role.

“I regretted saying no to Lipstick because I thought it was an insane story. But then I got a casting call for a film called Lipstick Wale Sapne. That’s what it was called earlier. I remember I reconfirmed if it was the same film that was supposed to be shot earlier that year. Of course, I was interested. They asked me to audition. I gave the audition. I remember half of Mumbai had auditioned for that part. But I eventually got it. So, I think it was in my luck. The film was meant to be,” Aahana recalled, calling Lipstick Under My Burkha her career’s greatest gift. “For me, Lipstick was the greatest gift because it really changed me, my communication as a woman in the film industry. There was a paradigm shift in my personality. So, I am thankful it happened,” she said.

As we spoke about her journey in the industry, we also asked if she feels actors have often become easy targets for trolls. “I think we have to all be very careful now,” Aahana said, adding, “Suddenly it’s like, ‘oh, you don’t have an opinion. How do you not have an opinion?” The thing is – We are doing our job exactly like any other person. And it is not easy to be an actor. Do you know how hard people work in our industry? I remember when I was doing a TV serial, I used to work for 36 hours without a break. I have worked with paracetamols and even when I’m running the highest temperature. I’ve done a show with a sling. I met with a massive accident but still showed up because the show must go on. So, yes, our lives are brutally difficult. Be it actors or filmmakers, we’re not here to preach. We’re here to entertain. But yes, it is also our responsibility to have conversations which are important and relevant. But by the end of the day, we’re not politicians.”

On the work front, Aahana is currently seen in Call My Agent: Bollywood, a Netflix series. The actor, who strongly believes that OTT has given actors, especially women of all ages, a chance to explore and be part of varied scripts, disagreed when asked if web platform will ruin Bollywood’s business. “India loves its music, song and dance. I’ve grown up watching films and for me, it’ll never be finished. I don’t even want to think that it can ever be finished. Think about it, when we all travel, when we meet anybody, the first thing that we bond over is Bollywood. So, it’s far from finished,” Aahana stated.

Call My Agent: Bollywood sees Aahana play Amal. Apart from her, the Shaad Ali directorial features Soni Razdan, Rajat Kapoor and Ayush Mehra.

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