In what is an unusual departure from the typical portrayal of a neglected and abandoned child, Nirvana Sawhney brought respect and dignity to playing Gauri Khanna, the estranged half-sister of Adil Khanna, played by Jim Sarbh, in the second season of Made In Heaven. The Free Press Journal team caught up with the actress for an exclusive tête-à-tête.
When asked how important it was to dignify Gauri and not reduce her to a sorry figure, Nirvana explains, “Playing Gauri as an affirmative human being was very intentional. It was important to understand where she is operating from. Is Gauri operating from a wounded place? What is her relationship with her father? Was he there or not there? What was her relationship with both her parents? If she was operating from a space where she felt abandoned versus a place of empowerment of having a fulfilled childhood, it would be very different. So, the production was clear that she has a life of her own and she’s not sorry for herself in any way.”
With co-actors Kalki Koechlin and Jim Sarbh | Instagram: Nirvana Sawhney
She further adds, “I could also relate to Gauri in a lot of ways. There is more background to her. She went to study in New York, has an easy sense of style, is affirmative but also has a lot of ethics in place. So, in general I think Gauri was just lovely to embody. What I also loved was whatever I worked with in the scenes with my co-actors Kalki (Koechlin) and Jim (Sarbh). That really helped in bringing Gauri to life as well.”
Netizens are particularly appreciating her performance in a scene where she asserts her position in Adil’s life. One wonders how did she crack the scene. “Interestingly, I gave my audition for the role with this scene. I sent a self tape because this was planned during Covid-19. And then a few months later, I heard back and then it started moving. Of course, I eventually met Zoya (Akhtar) and gave her an audition too. Her brief to me was very clear. She wanted to exact the same reaction out of me but she specified that I must maintain a deadpan expression while I deliver the explicit dialogue. And of course, Kalki and Jim helped in improvising upon the scene,” she recalls.
Instagram: Nirvana Sawhney
Opening up about her co-stars, Nirvana gushes, “I had scenes with them together and then I had scenes with them separately. I really enjoyed that there was room for improv. Even in the scene, where I’m signing papers with Jim, he just added in his own bit of improvisation and that helped us play off each other in some sense. Same with Kalki. I really appreciated that even as a co actor that she made it very easy to kind of deliberate between emotions and expressions.”