Exclusive! Sarah Jane Dias On Playing A Potential First Lady In ‘Tandav’, And Her Mental Health Mantra For 2021
When POTUS Donald Trump screws up (which is quite often), he isn’t the only one being scrutinised. Wife and FLOTUS Melania Trump is also the cynosure of attention. Similarly, while New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern, US Vice President-elect Kamala Harris or back home, the late Sushma Swaraj made great strides in their political careers, there was always a close eye on how and what kind of support their partners were offering them. Being the spouse of a powerful politician can be a difficult position. The newest offering from Amazon Prime Video, Tandav, is centered around dynastic politics and student politics, with Samar Pratap Singh (Saif Ali Khan), as one of the key candidates for Prime Minister of India. Sarah Jane Dias plays Ayesha Pratap Singh, his devoted wife, and the woman behind The Man.
While politics has been a man’s world, the women of Tandav, I’ve been told, are different. They do wield enough power of their own, whether overtly or covertly, to flip the game at any moment. You’ve got the likes of Dimple Kapadia, Kritika Kamra, Gauahar Khan, Shonali Nagrani, and Sandhya Mridul playing strong characters which they claim have been written like never before. To quote Sandhya, they’re a mix of aspirational and real women.
In Ayesha Pratap Singh, then, we can probably see a potential First Lady who supports her husband’s powerplays, but also has a few aces up her sleeve. I spoke to the lovely Sarah Jane Dias about Tandav, her prep for playing a character so different from who she is IRL, and working with that incredible cast. Since Sarah’s Instagram is a right ray of sunshine and positive affirmation, I even talked to her about her mental health advocacy and what she’s bringing into 2021.
Here are excerpts from the interview….
Q: What’s you character in Tandav, Ayesha Pratap Singh, like?
Sarah Jane Dias: Ayesha is a loyal wife. She’s a strong woman. She’s not a woman of too many words, unless she’s communicating with Samar (Saif Ali Khan), who is her partner in crime, the love of her life and the center of her world. However, she definitely has her own personality, and her own strengths as well. I think that Ayesha’s main goal in life is to be the ideal wife, but she doesn’t lose herself in the process. Very often, you find that people who are dedicated to their families tend to lose a sense of themselves. But Ayesha’s very much her own person while being a loyal, loving, dedicated wife.
Q: Ayesha sure seems like someone who wields considerable power herself. Is there anything particular that you loved about your character?
Also Read: “OTT Is Encouraging My Versatility”: Sandhya Mridul On Tandav, And Finally Getting To Play Non-Stereotypical Characters
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Q: Did you seek inspiration from real life to play your character?
Q: How was it working with Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia and such a talented and huge ensemble cast? Did you get nervous or was it fun and easy-breezy?
Q: Women seem to form an integral part of Tandav….
Also Read: Shonali Nagrani Says The Women Of ‘Tandav’ Are Strong Without Losing Their Femininity. Finally!
Q: Did being a part of a political drama that delves deep into India’s democratic politics change/influence your perspective of real life Indian politics?
Q: You’ve been a staunch advocate for mental health awareness. What’s a learning from 2020 that you’re taking into 2021?
A: Gratitude has been my mental health mantra. for last year. I repeated it to myself many, many times. Because I think the fact that we, all of us here today, just survived is gratifying enough.
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Tandav will begin streaming on Amazon Prime Video on January 15, 2021.