I can only describe Amruta Subhash as a gift for any screenplay writer. When you put words to paper, meticulously break them down into scenes, and dialogues, your best hope, I imagine, is that someone can lift them to make something impactful. Otherwise, it can be scary.
In actors like Amruta, one finds the ability to lift even average writing. Case in point: Dhamaka. She plays the role of a bigwig at a TV news company, whose morals can most politely be described as distressing.
Even though the script lets her character down, ultimately, she wings it. Her scenes are the most believable, and along with an honest attempt by Kartik Aaryan, she manages to make something substantial out of the whole movie.
We never see the inner workings of her character, Ankita, and why she is the way she is, but Amruta has performed with enough conviction to make us want to find out. That’s a gift.
In retrospect, I would like to know more about Razia.
Why does she stay in that marriage? Is financial restraint the only reason? The way the movie is written, it seems unlikely that she ever stood up to her husband before he married someone else. Why not? For kids, I assume, but maybe there is something more. What would Razia’s life look like if she were not a victim of her circumstances?
There is a scene in Gully Boy where she is serving snacks to the relatives of her husband’s new wife, and then cleaning up after her in the morning. In both, she doesn’t talk, but she doesn’t need to either.
Through her portrayal of Razia, you understand the frustration of Murad (played by Ranveer Singh). What does it do to a child to watch their mother being treated unfairly?
Even if it’s not for the same reason, a lot of us have felt similar frustration, unfortunately. That was a brilliant touch by Zoya Akhtar, executed ably by Amruta and Ranveer.
Amruta also plays the role of a feisty sex worker, Lily, in Bombay Begums, who is let down by society. She is a dreamer, and a doer…she is a lover. She hopes against hope and is smart enough to turn things to her benefit, sometimes assorting to extreme measures.
But she comes from depravity and opportunities don’t necessarily make things easy for her. Dreams crash, things don’t work out, lovers leave. But she marches on.
Beautiful character arc portrayed with enviable vulnerability.
These are just a few of her recent movies. Amruta has also starred in projects like Sacred Games, Raman Raghav 2.0, where she pulls off some deeply disturbing scenes, and Choked where she plays a neighbour who likes to pry (look out for her laugh in this one).
Amruta, despite giving such brilliant performances, is still an underrated actor. Sadly, can’t say that is surprising. This trend needs to change, though. She needs to be given roles that justify her potential and her performances need to be celebrated as much as those of the ‘big stars’.
She is backed by tremendous talent and we hope that the movie makers take bigger risks with her. This is as safe as they get.