Ritu Arya and Priya Kansara Talk ‘Polite Society’, Reaction To The Script, Stunt Work & More – Interview
Polite Society is now playing in theaters, and just before its release, I had the opportunity to sit down with the two lead stars of this highly anticipated British action dramedy film. It was a pleasure speaking with Ritu Arya and Priya Kansara, who have brought to life captivating characters created by writer and director Nida Manzoor in her feature film directorial debut.
Debuting at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival, Polite Society tells the story of Ria Khan, portrayed by Priya Kansara, a martial arts enthusiast determined to become a stuntwoman. When Ria’s sister, played by Ritu Arya, drops out of art school and becomes engaged, Ria decides to plan a wedding-heist alongside her friends.
Kansara and Arya are two accomplished actresses who have made a name for themselves in the entertainment industry. Arya, recognized for her roles in popular TV series such as Doctor Who and The Umbrella Academy, has showcased her ability to enthrall audiences with her versatile acting talents. Kansara, a rising star, is making her feature film debut. Prior to this, Kansara honed her craft in short films and theater productions, demonstrating her dedication and passion for acting.
Polite Society represents a significant turning point in both actresses’ careers. For Arya, it provides an opportunity to expand her range and display her skills in a new genre. For Kansara, it serves as an exhilarating and challenging foray into the realm of feature films, allowing her to prove her potential as a leading actress. The dynamic collaboration between these two talented women in this action comedy-drama has already generated buzz and anticipation among fans and critics alike.
In this interview, we delve into the making of this captivating film, discuss the actors’ experiences on set, and explore the unique dynamic between the two lead characters.
If you’ve seen the trailer or watched the film already, you know it’s WILD. With that in mind, I began the interview by asking the stars about their initial reactions when they first read the script.
Arya said, “When I first read it, I found it really funny. I thought it was weird, which I expected from Nida, and it was kind of this unexpected roller coaster. It was awesome. It’s like different genres blended together, and that’s what I loved about it. It was really unique.”
Kansara said, “Oh my gosh, I really echo what Ritu said. I mean, it’s funny; I was laughing out loud. But I was also shocked on different pages, surprised by the story, and felt as though the script was really nostalgic in a way, because we referenced so many different films and genres in it. It was just so much fun to read. I didn’t want to put it down, and I knew it would be such an incredible project to be a part of. Nida’s writing is just incredible. So, I’m thrilled that I got the job.”
As I mentioned before, this is Kansara’s first theatrical film debut. With that in mind, i asked her if was there anything that she learned that surprised her about the filming process, or behind the scenes.
Kansara shared, “Oh, my gosh, I mean, everything was a learning process for me, because I’m so new to this all and you know, I’ve had such limited experience before that. So to be in this position, I feel like I was just really lucky to be able to witness all the different relationships in the way that people work on set, it really is, like, everyone’s a different piece of the puzzle.”
Kansara elaborated on working with the crew and said, “So to be able to kind of create a short form with Nida as our director, but also with our DOP and figuring out how sound and lighting and costume and makeup and all of the different departments come together to create each moment was really really fun For me. iI was like I got to be in a space that I’ve just love so, so much. So it was just the best time for me. I had a great, great experience.”
As I mentioned before, this is Kansara’s first major theatrical film debut. With that in mind, I asked her if there was anything that she learned or that surprised her about the filming process or behind-the-scenes.
Arya is no stranger to stunt work, especially from her role in The Umbrella Academy. In a previous interview with Arya, she shared a humorous story about filming a fight scene with her co-star Aiden Gallagher. I brought up that anecdote, but accidentally mixed up who hit whom, and asked if there were any amusing fight scene bloopers from the set of Polite Society.
Arya jokingly replied, “I didn’t hit Priya. But also, I didn’t hit Aiden; Aiden hit me. But, well remembered! No, I didn’t have any injuries with Priya. Although, there was one bit where she was hitting my head on the mirror. It was supposed to be a set mirror designed to shatter easily, but they mounted it onto some wood. So, during the first take, I was like, ‘This is breaking, and I’m pretty sure it’s not good for my skull.’ It was quite funny.”
In the film, Arya’s character, Lena, temporarily gives up art, which is her passion. Building on that, I asked the pair if they weren’t acting, what they think they’d be doing right now in the real world?
Arya shared, “I feel like I’m a big music buff. So, I think I’d want to go down that line. I was in a band, and I think it’d be really fun to keep creating music.”
Kansara said, “I’m definitely not as cool as Ritu. So, music probably wouldn’t be what I’d be doing. I mean, two years ago, I was working an office job in health care. So maybe I’d still be doing that if I wasn’t doing this.”