Actress Rimi Sen had a decade-long career in Bollywood, and she has given us some memorable comedy films like Hungama, Golmaal, Garam Masala and Phir Hera Pheri. However, it has been close to 10 years since she last appeared in a film. Ever wondered what the actress is up to these days? Well, in an exclusive interview with IndiaToday.in, Rimi Sen talked about her future plans and the reason behind her 10-year-long sabbatical. Rimi co-owns Code Red Films with partners Gajraj Rao and Shubrat Ray and she has some big announcements in store for her fans. The Baghban actress also opened up about what she thinks about Tanushree Dutta’s harassment allegations against actor Nana Patekar.
Read excerpts from the interview here:
From 2000 to 2011, we saw you in a slew of Bollywood films. What kept you away from the screen since then?
I took a long break for like 10 years. My last film released in 2011. I took a long break to rediscover myself as a person because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in life. Acting was the only thing I knew. I started very young and soon offers started pouring in and I was also making a lot of money. So, it was initially good for me, but I never enjoyed the fact that I was offered only comedy films. As an actor, if you want creative satisfaction then comedy films are not that great. No wonder they make people laugh, which is a very difficult task. But very few directors attempt to make situational comedies or dark comedies like Imran Khan’s Delhi Belly or Irrfan’s Blackmail. For others, the storyline generally revolves around four-five men chasing one girl or maybe a film on mistaken identity. Such films can never give an actor creative satisfaction. These films do not have depth, so as an actor, I was never satisfied.
It was my conscious decision to work with big actors, directors and producers because I was new at that time and nobody knew me. I worked with these people so that the audience got to know me. Eventually, when I got famous, I started doing different films like Johnny Gaddar and Sankat City, but those movies did not do well. Therefore, I was not offered such films in the future. However, I always had this thing in my mind that I want to work with directors like Sriram Raghavan, Shoojit Sircar and Neeraj Pandey. But my PR was very bad. In this industry, I think nothing can replace hard work, but you also need to have a lot of luck aur tumhara PR bohot strong hona chahiye. My PR was zero aur luck mein main thoda bohat chal rahi thi. Therefore, I left because I was disappointed. I can’t do just about anything to survive, I have to be happy and somewhere that was missing. I did Thank You because I got a role opposite Irrfan but even that film was somewhat similar. So, then I thought maybe I should leave acting and become a producer or a director and make my kind of films.
Tell us about your comeback plans. Is there something particular that you have in mind currently?
My partner, Gajraj Rao, is doing quite well after Badhaai Ho and he has been getting a lot of offers. He has been telling me ‘why are you doing this to yourself, itna disappointed hone ka nahi hai’. So, I took over a year to convince myself, then I realised I wasn’t in proper shape and you know that is a priority these days. Though I do not want to compete with the new generation of actresses, I want to look presentable. Another aspect was to understand creative things. Earlier, I was very young and I was being paid a lot of money. The director used to explain the shot and then I used to do it. However, it’s not the same anymore. If I get a script now, I will take time to think over it and understand the nitty-gritty because I have gone through this creative process. And this is like my last innings.
With the advent of OTT platforms, people have a lot of work these days. Earlier, it used to be only feature films and only a few actors got an opportunity. OTT platforms have now given scope to everyone. People are also preferring to watch the content available on these platforms over going to a theatre. So, after OTT platforms became so popular, I was a little convinced.
I and my partners are also working on a couple of scripts now. We aren’t a filmmaking company and we do not have such great resources. We are two-three people and we have zeroed in on two scripts and we are working on that currently. Perhaps by next year we will be able to announce something.
You changed your name from Rimi to Subhamitra, is there a particular reason behind it?
Subhamitra is my real name. For Budhia Singh: Born to Run (a film she co-produced in 2016, which failed to make a mark at the box office despite bagging a National Award) I used my real name, Subhamitra Sen. My Instagram id says Subhamitra Sen too, though I don’t want to use that name anymore. I want to be addressed as Rimi to avoid all the confusion.
You and Tanushree Dutta worked around the same time in the industry. Years later when Tanushree Dutta accused Nana Patekar of harassing her on sets of the film Horn Ok Pleasss, what was your reaction, especially since you were a part of the film.
The day when it happened, I wasn’t on the sets. They were shooting for an item song, I guess. Only Nana and Tanushree were there. I heard about what happened on set that day from other people. I never got to hear both sides of the story. I neither spoke to Nana nor to Tanushree regarding the incident. So, I don’t actually know first-hand. However, I strongly believe ki kuch na kuch toh hua hoga. No one will purposely involve themselves in something like this and risk spoiling their reputation if proven false. Without any reason, no one would want to annoy a senior actor or stop the shooting of a film and create a ruckus. There must have been something, it could have been a misunderstanding or something else. Since I don’t know anyone’s story, I will not be able to comment on that.
You were part of the Bigg Boss Season 9. When you look back at your journey in the Bigg Boss house now, do you have any regrets?
No, I don’t think I have any regrets because they paid me Rs 2.25 crore for 50 days. Kahaan se milega tumko? The makers of Bigg Boss were very professional. They have really good payment terms, even the show is very good. My main purpose why I agreed to be a part of the show was the money. The makers of Bigg Boss had offered me a lot of money. There is no other way you can earn a whopping sum of Rs 2.25 crore in just 50 days.
The other reason why I chose to enter the Bigg Boss house was to see if I could be calm and composed in difficult situations. The show is very good, but the main purpose of Bigg Boss is to bring out the negative trait of a person’s character. Everyone has a hidden negative trait that comes out when they are agitated. Some people scream, some abuse and maybe others get violent, and this is what the makers try to capture. They want to show that celebrities and actors, who represent themselves in a certain way in the public eye may or may not be the same in their real lives. This is the main purpose of the show and this is why it is followed widely. They frustrate you, don’t give you food, and ask the inmates to do tasks all day and then the real face of the celebrities comes to the fore. Even the audience discovers a new side of these celebrities. Therefore, Bigg Boss is an eye-opener.
One thing that people should keep in their minds when they enter the show is that they should not play against the inmates, they should always play against the system. If you can’t control your emotions, then probably you haven’t reached that level. Bigg Boss plays with your emotions. You should be calm and patient so that their purpose isn’t served. That was what I was trying to do on the show. People who can maintain a proper balance on the show ultimately win it. But I didn’t want to remain on the show because that show wasn’t for me. I don’t like staying in front of the camera all the time. You are under surveillance 24X7 and a person like me didn’t like it.