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Sen sisters charting different paths in Bollywood


Two starlets, who also happen to be sisters, are charting two very different paths in the film industry. Sultry Riya Sen and fascinating Raima Sen, speak to TSI about their life and journey in tinsel town
NISHITA MAHAJAN | New Delhi, June 4, 2011 09:43
Tags : Bollywood actresses Raima Sen | Riya Sen | multi-dimensional | new release Kashmakash | Moon Moon Sen | sibling rivalry | grand daughters Suchitra Sen | work | yoga | dance | newcomers better launched |

What attracted you towards the role in Kashmakash?

Riya: It was the mere fact of not playing a diva, but someone so simple, vulnerable and innocent. It was also challenging because it was in contrast to Raima's look, which was all glorified. Her character is multi-dimensional and mine is not.

Raima: The role of Hemnalini just drew me. She is a modern, well-educated woman of the 1920s Bengal. She takes inspiration from Rabindranath Tagore himself. She comes from a good family, is pretty dignified and well read. 

Both of you share screen space for the first time. How was the experience?

Riya: Raima and I don't share screen space, just screen time!

Raima: We didn’t do any scenes together, but we shared the screen together, which is a great thing.

Which is your most memorable moment from the making of Kashmakash?

Riya: Every moment was special.

Raima: Actually, I’ve worked a lot with Rituparno Ghosh. It’s a pleasure working with him. I learn a lot from him and I’m very
comfortable working with him. He does a lot of detailing, which is why it’s amazing to watch him work.

From being a child actor in Vishkanya to playing the lead lady, how has the journey been? Do you wish things had turned out differently?

Riya: It has been a long journey, can't say a very smooth one! It’s been a very exciting one, nonetheless, as I love living on the edge and will not have it any other way.

You are the girl of many men's dreams. Has being counted among the sexiest ladies in the industry been an ambition for you from the beginning?

Riya: (Laughs) No, it has never been my ambition to be men's dream girl. My ambition is to live a life full of passion.

Are there any bold scenes that now on retrospect you wish you hadn't done?

Riya: I really don't think I'd call any of my roles in any film bold from any angle.

Raima, would you have chosen the kind of roles Riya has played?

No, I think she is little more glamorous than I am. I like her for that. She is bolder and takes up bolder roles. I’ve got a different kind of working style. We’re both very different and it’s good to be different. So, I’m very  happy where I am and she is very happy where she is.

What kind of roles and scripts interest you?

Riya: I choose a film very spontaneously; it’s my instinct that works for me. And then, of course, it has to be a renowned producer
or director.

Raima: The storyline is important to me as it attracts people to the theatres. And the role has to be significant. Even if I don’t play a main lead, the character I play should be strong enough so that people remember the character and it remains in their hearts.

Raima, do art films interest you more than mainstream commercial films?

No. It depends on the kind of story. If I get great commercial films with great roles and not just the singing and dancing, I would love to do them. But I just get these kinds of offers. It all started with Godmother. Also, I think people will give me only these kinds of roles. I just choose the best of what I get!

Do you feel your family background has helped you in any way in this industry?

Riya: My family name has helped me attain certain respect in this industry. My dad hails from a royal family… but it definitely didn't help me in bagging roles. Today, newcomers have bigger and better launches than I did.

Maybe… I’ve never thought about it. I’ve grown up seeing my mother and my grandmother and I was always aware that I come from this particular family. For me, it was a subconscious decision to act. If I wasn’t Moon Moon Sen’s daughter, I would have perhaps not been in this industry.

Who is more like Moon Moon Sen? Riya or Raima?

Riya: It’s me, for sure! They get along as friends and I'm the baby.

Raima: My sister is more like my mother and I am more like my father in terms of  temperament.

Professionally, is there any sibling rivalry?

Raima: No, there isn’t any rivalry. I would want to see my sister succeed more than the other people in this industry and she would want to see me progress. There is no fighting between us. Rather, I would want to see her do better and she wants to see me do well. We are very happy to have done a film together; which is doing well. We are very close to each other, like friends. She would take my advice and I would take hers. 

How do you unwind after a hectic  schedule?

Riya: I unwind through yoga and in the company of my most beautiful little puppies who make my home in Mumbai complete. I'm addicted to a few of my close friends. We go for trips etc. And, of course, my family is always present, though not physically around.

Raima: I read a lot of books, watch films, do yoga and I also take short term dance courses. I just don’t like sitting inside the house.

What are your future plans?

Riya: Tere Mere Phere is my next release with Vinay Pathak. It’s a romantic comedy directed by Deepa Sahi and produced by Ketan Mehta.

Raima: Well, I wish to work for another 5-6 years. And after ten years, hopefully I’m married and settled down. I don’t believe in future planning. I think whatever has to happen will happen with time.

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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017