Ekavali Khanna on ‘Bombay Begums’ getting her global recognition

Kolkata-based actress boasts an interesting body of work despite a late start to her career

Remember Daddy?

Ekavali Khanna certainly does. For, she was mighty impressed by Pooja Bhatt’s debut in Mahesh Bhatt’s made-for-Doordarshan film.

So Ekavali was indeed delighted when she came to know that Pooja would be part of Bombay Begums. “I didn’t know Pooja was going to be there when I auditioned for the show,” says the Kolkata-based actress. “I believe every teenage girl would have admired her in the 1990s.”

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Ekavali is glad that she did Bombay Begums. “The show has given me more visibility than many of my previous works,” she says. “I have worked with several National Award-winning directors, but that hasn’t brought me the kind of attention that Bombay Begums did.”

Alankrita Shrivastava’s web series, which premiered a couple of months ago, continues to be among the most-watched shows on Netflix. “It is heartening to see that Bombay Begums is still doing well,” she says. “I get a lot of calls appreciating my work; I enjoyed playing Devyani Oniyal, which was a very well-written character.”

She admits she was a bit surprised by the feedback. “I liked the premise; it was original,” she says. “It is about real, urban women. And I am glad to see it is attracting a global audience. I have been getting messages from people overseas too, like Pakistan and Bangladesh. That is a good thing about Netflix; you have viewers from all over the world. I guess people like to watch shows like Bombay Begums and Indian women are very fascinating to the rest of the world, I suppose.”

Ekavali may not have been a familiar face to a lot of Netflix viewers, but she has been around for a while, doing work in some quality projects, like the Norwegian film What People Will Say, which was Norway’s official entry for the 2019 Oscars. “It was released in more than 50 countries, though not in India, but here also people have now watched it online,” she says. “That film is close to my heart, as is Angrezi Mein Kehta Hai, for which I won the best actor award at the Ottawa Indian Film Festival.”

She also made her presence felt in films such as Dear Dad and Veere De Wedding, in which she did a cameo. For someone who arrived in tinseltown after turning 30, she has done rather well.

“Unlike someone who has been a heroine in the past, I came without any expectations or pressure,” she says. “I just put my best foot forward and enjoy the creative part of acting.”

Ekavali is at the moment looking forward to the release of Incomplete Man. “It is a psychological thriller directed by Dheeraj Khotkar. “I am very excited about it,” she says. “I haven’t played a role like that before; I can’t divulge much, though I could say that I have played an alcoholic before. My co-stars are Warina Hussain and Sharib Hashmi.”

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