All of 15, the star of the year’s biggest sleeper hit, Sairat, is just about learning to love her newfound fame. This 10th grader from the small town of Akluj, in Maharashtra, got on a plane for the first time when she went to attend the National Awards in Delhi this year, where she received a special mention from the jury. “Acha lagta hai,” she says, about losing her anonymity and transforming into Archie (Archana Patil). Rajguru’s feisty heroine zips around on a Bullet, flirts uninhibitedly with the hero and lunges at goons.
It’s a character that took some getting used to. At the audition, says Rajguru, “I was so shy, I could barely get the words out.” Her director, the three-time National Award-winning Nagraj Manjule, put her through a rigorous two-month workshop. The scenes she found most challenging were also her most memorable moments on screen. Like when she rips files in the police station. “I wasn’t expecting to be slapped – that happened for real – and I fought back.”
She’s still high from the glowing reviews, but is looking forward to returning to her old life of paani puri runs, cycling till dusk and watching Tom & Jerry, though she worries she’s “too old for all that now”. But watching people’s reactions to Sairat has convinced Rajguru that “Everyone has a bit of Archie in them.” Now that she’s found her, she’ll hold on tight.
Location courtesy: Hoppipola (Khar); Photograph: Manasi Sawant; Styling: Veronna Parikh; Make-up and Hair: Saher Ahmed Organza slip, organza dress, both Raw Mango. Cotton scarf, Vrissa by Rahul & Shikha. Rhodium-plated mirror cuffs, both Isharya