SPOTLIGHT: Amara Karan: Cosmopolitan Candour (Part Four)

Sunetra Senior Tuesday 11th October 2022 01:47 EDT

“Women in power have demonstrated a better facility to strategically and benignly lead: they reach out to each other, striking smart and thoughtful alliances and build one another up. If we could get a few women in charge, it would be brilliant.  In the end, the May and Miller of Walker’s play do find sympathy for each other that they can use to make peace, at least, between them. Feminine authority is a hugely obfuscated and underrated idea which is due deserved credit.” Thus, overall informed assertion seems the way forward over default instinctual aggression. Finally, Amara’s illustrious career implicitly advocates the many important nuances of an integrative diverse world. Her transition from the demonstrative in the mainstream of representation to the social, deeply political and indie as well as even existential espouses a very illuminating passionate discourse. Not only does Amara break cultural barriers but her enlightening, sincere acting choices further demonstrate the supreme power of her medium of art. Distanced somewhat from the immediate corruptive reality of the zeitgeist, the discipline can elevate itself and set the gold-standard for humanity as a constant throughout time: “progress isn’t linear and it’s a tricky concept as society currently stands; we’ve taken steps both forwards and back. Picking any one point in history, we are not always ahead”. If we consider that creativity is the emotional dimension of modernisation then, perhaps it is on our screens where the shoots of revolution can be the most purely preserved. Being such a ubiquitous vivid mediumdrama may not only depict these dazzling alternative worlds but at once move many to intimately propagate the change that will eventually happen in the future. Such joint visualisation is the keeper of greater growth. “Performing is always such a thrill and the opportunity for character and plot development is vast,” the actress concluded: “I hope we’ll be seeing a lot more original content; the networks are definitely doing more of this.”  

From popular fun films such as St. Trinians to indie comedies such as Wes Anderson’s Darjeeling Limited, you have had a varied and vibrant film career. Can you share some highlight moments with us? 

Well, the start of my career was getting the female lead in Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited which I will never forget; what a wonderful crew and way to be introduced to the screen!  I loved playing Gina Miller in Tim Walker’s Bloody Difficult Women. Another big moment was being part of series The Night Of. They have such brilliant storytelling and so many elements that work well together which is rare to find in a project: every character is well-developed and authentically thought-out. I never felt them to be ciphers or small or irrelevant in any way.   

The play, Bloody Difficult Women, seemed a positive reclamation of a very divisive difficult past. It was smart in its attempt to present some uplifting closure. Brexit thew up so many intersecting conflicting issues and national tension, including deep-seated misogyny. Please tell us more.  

Yes, there is often a point of empathy amongst women because they understand vulnerability fundamentally. The play sought to celebrate female leaders in lieu of the heavily misogynistic combative climate. We’ve had incredible female monarchs throughout history e.g., Queen Elizabeth the First. Imagine that becoming the norm: what stability, prosperity and peace! Contemporarily, The Kardashians are another example: they’ve built a modern dynasty and know how to stick together – that, business and managing the world’s best PR machine! It’s incredible how they’ve transitioned into a global sensation. Similarly, it is common to have families struggle and pettiness between siblings if a strong maternal figure is absent.  

Have you ever wanted to pen as well as act in theatre and film? 

I’d love to start my own theatre company and have my own pop-up community with its own collaborative culture. It would be so creatively fulfilling – to be able to write as well as act, and share that with friends! Maybe one day I will be able to have my own theatre company and a network of actors with whom I can expressly do this. It is such a skill to be able to develop your own creative material.  

Your current project, television series, Moonhaven, is a unique futuristic sic-fi: how did you prepare? 

Being the envoy, I was put in the position of having to mediate cultures. As if I was a well-meaning President trying to bridge the gap between two very different worlds while executing an agenda of what principally needs to be done. I felt Indira needed to have power, poise, compassion and grace. This attempt to be successful is also where the cracks in my character in the series begin to show. Things do start to go wrong and make the pressure incredibly high. Every move is being scrutinised under the looking glass. This is very resonant of progressive diplomatic gambits today. As a result, I did read Obama’s autobiography to prepare. He’s a very cool customer! I did this for Miller when preparing to play her in Bloody Difficult Women too.  

Getting to know the cast and crew and working with Peter Ocko for Moonhaven was incredible in terms of immersion into the world of the story. It has its own vernacular and glossary of terms. It was important to relay the body language of the culture. We all got on so well offset too! That definitely elevated the chemistry that you see on screen.  

So, making a great film is about the product forever evolving until the very moment the cameras stop? 

Absolutely: everyone tries to do better after each take.   

Finally, what might be some helpful advice to other up-and-coming actresses who really want to launch their career? 

There’s so much involved! Everyone’s unique and a different approach is required which is tough. You do feel pressure to conform to accepted protocols and fulfil certain criteria but you need to stay true to your own style: that’s my advice. Some successful actors have formally trained while others have not but no one comes to work in exactly the same way. If we all did that, it would be boring. We need to be diverse as people. I love the idea of directors and studios commissioning alternative multifarious voices because those stories can really help the industry and content to evolve. You can never predict the flavour of the month and what’s trending can mean you get lucky. However, again, longevity lies in a well-received trademark that stands the test of time. Stay true to your own tastes and develop them; trust your own instincts after gaining some experience in the acting business. Cultivate a strong sense of self that is properly projected. Sometimes I even watch my own work back to teach myself and grow: it’s a pride in your own compass and individuality that colourfully translates across different performances.  

T: @amarakaran 


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