Actor Prackriti Bhaargava, who is part of Shipra and Shivankar’s latest short film Love Knows No Gender, a film on the struggle of the LGBTQ community, says that the best part about the story is that it’s not preachy. She says that even though the film, which can be watched on the YouTube channel Content Ka Keeda, is very progressive in its thought, which impressed her. “It was wonderful to be part of Love Knows No Gender. The fact that the script was wonderfully written, extremely sensitive, the topic is very topical. It talks about the inclusion of the LGBTQ community, not in a way that is very preachy or there are no sermons that are being given. It talks about the concept of live and let live, let people be the way they want to…everybody has the right to love anyone they want. When I say anyone, it means there should be no restrictions of cast, gender, especially after section 377. It is important that we accept this. Homophobia needs to be eradicated from our society. The way the mother, in the film, accepts the daughter’s relationship needs to be taken note of. Also, I loved acting with such a beautiful team,” says the actor, who was last seen in the telefilm Darr, which is now streaming on Netflix.
Talking about her role in the film, she says, “I am playing the protagonist, Pallavi’s mother in the film. In the story, she is about to get married to Amit but is secretly in love with her childhood friend Ankita. The best part about this character is that the mother is a single mother and the family is not based in high society, still, she accepts this relationship at the end. She is a simple, educated woman, who with great difficulties, has brought up her daughter singlehandedly. She turns out to be very progressive and is one of the coolest moms. The best part is that she is not the kind of mother who needs to look cool to be cool, it’s all about your attitude and the way you conduct yourself.”
The film has been screened at various festivals and has been getting a positive response. “I have been totally been blown by the response which I have been getting on social media. My friends and family and people who I don’t even know, watched the film and some have cried, some have dropped comments about how important this topic is for them. I think this issue is very close to everyone’s heart and so I am totally overwhelmed with the kind of response I have got. A lot of them did tell me that I don’t look old enough to be the mother of a 20-year-old. The message has been fantastic, so many people told me that topic has been dealt with so beautifully. There is no vulgarity or obscenity, this is the reaction that I am getting,” she says.
Talking about working with Shivankar, who has directed the film, Prackriti says, “Shivankar is one of the sweetest directors who I have ever worked with and the best part about him is that even though he is so young, yet his thought and his way of dealing with people on the set is so matured. He is matured beyond his years. The best thing I found about him was that he gave me the freedom that an artist needs to be able to perform well. I belong to theatre, so I had a lot of questions to ask. He just made me relax said, ‘Ma’am, just chill!” He is so encouraging, he really knows what he wants and gets it without creating any stress. It was such a stress-free set.”
The actor says that working with writer-producer Shipra was also amazing. “Shipra is just a wonderful ball of energy, very quite energy…But, oh my god! what a mind she has! The way she has written the story, the way she has crafted each word is incredible. When I read the script, I was convinced that I am doing the right thing by being part of this film. She is a wonderful person and an amazing producer and writer. As a producer, she made sure that everyone is comfortable. She was brilliant. The strength of the film is that the script is very good, each character is so well-edged out by Shipra. The second strength is how Shivankar visualised each of his characters. I think that is fantastic and he was able to convey the thought so well that we were able to do justice to our roles,” she says.
The actor says that homophobia needs to be completely done away with. “Needless to say, I am not just an Indian, I am a global citizen. Today when you say global citizen, you have to stop this bullshit about being homophobic. Homosexuality is as old as human beings itself. It’s high time we become a progressive society and show them we are one. The only way we can show that is through the inclusion of the LGBTQ community,” she says.
Prackriti says that India has come to long way, but needs to be more progressive. “India has become a far more open-minded country than what it was before, in certain ways. But sadly, in many ways, we are regressing. The regression actually has to do a lot with the political colour. This is what has been brought into the subject of homosexuality. India is basically a secular country when we talk about secularism, it’s not only about the cast, religion it’s also about gender equality, the rights that everybody has. So yes, we are progressing in that thought a bit but we have a long way to go,” she says.