Sharmila Tagore: “I was nervous about playing a gay character in Gulmohar”

Sharmila Tagore makes her acting debut after 13 years in Disney+ Hotstar’s ‘Gulmohar.’

The veteran actor plays a character in the family drama who confesses to her granddaughter that she, too, had fallen in love with a woman when she was younger. Sharmila admitted to being nervous about playing a gay character in the film, but she was pleasantly surprised by the audience’s reaction to the big reveal.


‘Gulmohar,’ directed by Rahul V. Chittella, also stars Manoj Bajpayee, Simran, and Suraj Sharma. In the film, Sharmila plays Kusum, the widowed matriarch of the Batra family, who is hiding more than one secret from her children and grandchildren. Before the house is sold, the Batras all gather in the old family bungalow for one last Holi. The actor stated that Kusum is there for everyone, but she prefers to live for herself as each family member pursues their own interests. She also discussed the subtle storyline of Kusum’s youth affair with a woman.

Sharmila stated in an interview about Gulmohar, “I felt a little bit of apprehension, but the way they handled it in the script is very subtle, not in your face. And I’ve been pleasantly surprised. It has been well received by the audience. They are fine with it. It’s not being highlighted, underlined, or emphasized in any way. It’s similar to a person’s internal evolution. So, it’s at that point.”

She went on to say, “Whatever the need of the time was, it was always her decision. And her growth has been greatly assisted by all this. When you see the movie, you realize what kind of person she is. She is connected to everyone, but she prioritizes herself. Nothing is wrong with that. In the film, she is now 76 years old. So, she basically wants to be free now.”

The veteran actor was most recently seen as Deepika Padukone’s mother in the film ‘Break Ke Baad.’ In 1959, she made her film debut at the age of 13 in Satyajit Ray’s Bengali film ‘Apur Sansar’ (The World of Apu).