With #TheSholayGirl trending on Instagram, actor Bidita Bag is fast moving up the popularity charts for the Indian audience. In conversation

Bag is a curious surname to get right in pronunciation. “My surname is actually pronounced as ‘baag’ — similar to tiger, but without an “h”. I am like a tiger, ready to pounce!” says actor Bidita Bag with a mischievous smile, as we catch up for a quick chat.

She calls herself a minimalist and practises the simple life. “Honestly, I try to make minimal use of resources. Be it water, food, clothes, energy… because I feel our planet has limited resources. The population has exceeded way too much. It is my way of doing my bit to reduce my carbon footprint. My motto is to do my best, always,” she says. It is her superb performance in her debut film Babumoshai Bandookbaaz (where she wielded her acting chops admirably when paired with ace actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui) that won her the lead role in The Sholay Girl, based on Reshma Pathan — Hema Malini’s double who performed the stunts for her in the iconic Hindi blockbuster, Sholay. Matching steps Biopics are big in Bollywood at the moment.

How did she net the role of Reshma Pathan? “I believe the Zee5 team liked my performance in Babumoshai Bandookbaaz. I am grateful to them for giving me this extraordinary biopic,” she says, modesty in full glow. Of course she is extremely fit, with yoga, martial arts, cardio, weight training…running through her weekly fitness schedule. A prerequisite, in addition to great acting skills, for being able to pull off the role with ease. It wasn’t easy, measuring up to Nawaz’s talent on screen but Bidita proved her mettle. “Nawaz is an exceptional actor. The best thing about him is that he makes his co-star feel very comfortable. We had a few difficult intimate scenes but the way he co-operated with me is beyond words. He is very down-to-earth. I have learnt a lot from him. He talks less and acts merely using his body language,” a distillate of years of struggle. It is a delight to listen to him and work with him.” Bidita counts her shoot schedules for The Sholay Girl as enervating fun. “

Shilpi Madan for Deccan Herald

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