‘Pathaan,’ ‘Tenet’ Star Dimple Kapadia on Disney+ Hotstar Hit ‘Saas Bahu Aur Flamingo’: ‘I Can Do Action Better Than Any of the Action Heroes’

Renowned Indian actor Dimple Kapadia (“Tenet”) is enjoying a blockbuster 2022-23 with everything she touches turning to gold.

Kapadia had a pivotal role in Disney’s 2022 mythological superhero film “Brahmastra Part One: Shiva.” In 2023, the actor had meaty roles in two of the year’s biggest Bollywood hits, “Pathaan” and “Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar.” And, taking a leaf from the Helen Mirren playbook, Kapadia took an action-heavy headline role in streamer Disney+ Hotstar’s patriarchy shattering drama series “Saas Bahu Aur Flamingo,” which released in May.

The series revolves around four women, the matriarch Savitri (Kapadia), her daughters-in-law and her daughter, who live in a forgotten village in the northwest of India. Savitri runs the Rani Cooperative, trading in products ranging from balms to textiles. But everything here isn’t what it seems – the cottage business is a front for the biggest drug cartel in South Asia.

Directed and created by Homi Adajania and produced by Maddock Films, the cast also includes Radhika Madan, Angira Dhar, Isha Talwar, Naseerudin Shah, Ashish Verma, Varun Mitra, Udit Arora, Deepak Dobriyal and Monica Dogra. The series has become one of the most viewed shows of the year for Disney+ Hotstar.

Kapadia had to learn a dialect local to the region and was helped by dialect coach Vijay Rawal. “I thought it was not going to be possible because there were so many lines and such huge lines. It was my first reading so it took me some time and I have to give that to myself. But I always want results immediately, because I think everything that you do has to be the best. And that’s been my failing in life – because first things are not always the best. But I learned and I read the text extensively,” Kapadia told Variety.

The actor, who previously worked with Adajania on 2012 hit “Cocktail” and 2014 Busan selection “Finding Fanny,” describes her role in “Saas Bahu Aur Flamingo” as her career best.

“He’s given me the opportunity and the strength to do these different kinds of exciting roles. Every time that I work with him, I am a bag of nerves and even this time I asked him – ‘You’re giving me this role, it’s a huge responsibility, you’ve worked with me for so many years, do you think I’ll be able to do it?’ He said ‘Yes, you will do it.’ For him, it’s a cakewalk because he’s a great performer so to match him becomes extremely difficult. But then I try to come somewhere like 10% of what he wants and I tried to give my best,” Kapadia said.

Kapadia burst upon the Bollywood firmament with her debut film, Raj Kapoor’s 1973 smash hit love story “Bobby.” A whirlwind romance and marriage followed and the actor went on a hiatus. She made a comeback in 1984 with Nasir Hussain’s family drama “Manzil Manzil.” A spate of action films followed, which stood her in good stead for “Saas Bahu Aur Flamingo.”

“It wasn’t tough, because I was always convinced in my mind that I can do action better than any of the action heroes. I seriously believe that. In the beginning of my career, I was offered many roles in life and I kept doing these roles like ‘Kali Ganga’ and played inspectors and dacoits [bandits] because I loved to do action. I do have a grouse with Homi and I hope he rectifies it, because I would have loved to have done more action. I simply thrive on it,” Kapadia said.

In 2020, Kapadia played a key and well-received role in Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet,” but has no current plans to work in the West. “I have no plans. I never had any plans. I can say this with utmost honesty, that whatever God has designed for me in my life has been too beautiful. I couldn’t have even planned it like that. There is no plan and I leave it to Him to take me wherever he wants to take me,” Kapadia said.

After working non-stop for the last two years, the actor is currently taking a six-month break.

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