Set reaction: Shilpa Shukla


Actor Shilpa Shukla is thankful for the platform of web series because it allows actors and filmmakers to explore the craft in depth. Shilpa, who plays the prisoner Ishani Nath in Criminal Justice: Behind Closed Doors that streams on Disney Hotstar, says she was thrilled when the role was offered to her. Having acted in both films and a web series earlier, which one would Shilpa prefer? She says, “There can never be a right answer if an actor is asked to choose between the two. Web series is the new grammar of acting. Earlier the comparison was with theatre. The character offered to me was something different. When I was explained the first scene, it was enough to make me feel positive about the character I would be playing.” The star cast in Criminal Justice: Behind Closed Doors features Pankaj Tripathi, Anupriya Goenka and Kirti Kulhari in prominent roles.

The ensemble cast also includes talents like Deepti Naval, Mita Vashisht, Ashish Vidyarthi, Jisshu Sengupta, Pankaj Saraswat, Ayaz Khan, Kalyanee Mulay, Ajeet Singh Palawat, Khushboo Atre and Tirrtha Murbadkar. After the success of Criminal Justice last year, Hotstar Specials is set to launch Criminal Justice: Behind Closed Doors with a bold and unexpected narrative; it seeks to find the truth and raises some pressing questions.Shilpa says there has not been such a strong role of a woman prisoner for an actor. She explains, “It is a character that has not been explored before, hence it was a challenge for me. There was not much for me to fall back on for reference. Instead, I watched documentaries on women prisoners.”

Shilpa believes Ishani’s character was so well-written that everything fell in place once the team got together amid ample COVID-19 precautions and social distancing. “Mine was a spontaneous role, the set was the biggest prompter so it was action-reaction kind of a flow for me,” she adds.

Though the shooting for most of Shilpa’s role had been completed before the lockdown was brought in, she was left with a tiny bit to shoot after the restrictions were eased. Shilpa, who was seen in a strong role in Chak De India, says acting happened by chance; she had wanted to do her Masters in Sociology. “Because I landed in movies by chance, I concentrated more on quality rather than quantity,”

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