You might have seen actresses playing nuns in films but it's very rare that an actress becomes a nun in real life. That's exactly what Barkha Madan (BHOOT, KHILADIYON KA KHILADI) has done. In this interview, she talks about her final film as an actress – SURKHAAB (which releases today) and her pursuit of happiness.
Is it true that SURKHAAB was ready since a long time and took a long time to release?
It's a misconception. We completed the production of the film in 2012 end. We wanted to send the film first to the film festivals. The film festivals are spread throughout the year and most of them don't want you to have a commercial release before that. It won many awards at film festivals acorss the world. That's why we didn't aim for any commercial release. Last year the film was released theatrically last year in US and Canada through a theatre chain called AMC. And now it's released through PVR's director's rare in India.
Will this be your last film as an actress?
Yes. I decided to become a Buddhist nun since 2012 itself when the film was just complete. I'd not planned my inordination back then. Inordination is when you formally take diksha from your guru. But my guru said that it was the right time. So I said why not? I had already finished my responsibilities and since it was my true calling, I went ahead with it.
This is my personal opinion when I say that you can make endless amount of movies and have all the wealth you want in this world, but if you're not truly happy with all that then what's the point? Because at the time of death you'll leave everything here anyway. So why not live for something that really makes you happy.
So weren't you happy doing films?
It's not that I wasn't happy doing films. I was enjoying myself. I had all the material happiness I wanted. The more I was getting success outside, the more void it was creating inside. Not that I did not have what I wanted in life. But it was just not giving me the satisfaction or happiness that I was looking for. Then I thought to myself that it was probably not my path if I was looking for a deeper happiness. Then I decided to become a nun and I am very happy.
How has life changed since you decided to become a nun?
My life has become very simple now. I have no material possessions. I only have two sets of clothes. To promote this film, I have a cellphone. I wake up, do my prayers, study, do my meditation, serve in the dharma centre I live in and that's it.
That's really interesting.
Thank you but I think if you really are seeking true happiness, it will make you take the steps you need to.
Did your family support you?
Yes. I'm very fortunate I must say. Without the blessings of my guru and the support of my family, this step would not have been possible. My mother especially was like, if this what makes you happy and if this is what you really want to do, then please go ahead and do it.
Are you completely cutoff from the film industry now? Do you watch films?
Actually I don't. I haven't seen a movie since a very long time. I made an exception of watching NANAK SHAH FAKIR because it was made by a friend with whom I had worked with. And secondly, it was a spiritual film and I really wanted to see the story of Guru Nanak. I must say it was a very beautifully made film.
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