WHAT: When I see the words "warrior queen" in a film title, my first thought is Heck yes! Much to my delight, The Warrior Queen of Jhansi is so much more than just an action-packed tale; it's the true story of a real-life superwoman. Devika Bhise is the inspiring force behind the project, serving as the film's executive producer, co-writer, and star, while her mother, Swati Bhise, is the director. The goal: to bring the incredible story of Indian queen Rani Lakshmibai to a global stage. You'll definitely want to keep an eye out for this one, which is coming to screens in November.
The Warrior Queen of Jhansi is an important story for audiences to see today because... "We live in such an exciting time where female superheroes and new kinds of female protagonists are entering the cinematic landscape, so I think it's important to tell true stories of real-life superheroes, as well. Not many people know the story of Rani Lakshmibai, and sharing it with a global audience may inspire people to learn about all of the extraordinary women throughout history who have changed the world against all odds. Telling these stories reminds all women that we have the strength, courage, and determination to break down barriers that women have been breaking for decades before us and certainly will be for decades to come."
The best part about working with my mother on this project was... "Having absolutely no formality on set. There's a huge amount of trust and intimacy required in an actor-director relationship, and having my mother in that role took that to another level. Our interests were always aligned, and even through our disagreements we had a very clear end-goal in mind, which removed any of the clutter that can get in the way of the work. We had both been developing this project for so long that we really had to count on each other not to sink the ship!"
The most challenging part of this role was... "Definitely speaking in 19thcentury Hindi and Marathi. As an American, I knew there would be a lot of scrutiny about my dialect, so I practiced with the most discerning critic I knew: my grandmother! If it didn't sound perfect to her, I wasn't ready for the take."
The women I look up to in Hollywood are... "Julianne Moore, Emily Blunt, and Frances McDormand. I admire them deeply-they carry themselves with tremendous grace and humility, are striving toward real progress and inclusion within the industry, and their performances are always flawless! I met Emily Blunt at a premiere a couple of years ago and was properly gobsmacked!"
The stories I want to tell as an actor are... "The ones that encourage people to see the world from a different perspective."
My favorite outfit I've ever worn for a project would have to be... "The nine-yard nauvari saris I wore for this film! They had to start hand-weaving the saris one year before we started production, with intricate pearl inlay or fine lace and gold thread hand-stitching. There's nothing like carefully being draped into a heavily embroidered sari fit only for royalty, jumping on horseback, galloping toward camera, and praying nothing rips!"
However, if you catch me off-duty, chances are I'm wearing... "A bathrobe. I have a few silk kimonos that I bought in Japan that I live out of. I rarely wear real clothes in my apartment and usually get comfy the second I walk through the door."
When it comes to fashion, I'm a total sucker for... "Cheetah print! I have the most fun when I'm wearing animal prints. It makes you feel primal and outrageous all at once, which is why I'm so thrilled that so many designers are coming out with animal-themed lines this fall."My fall wardrobe would not be complete without these three pieces...