"My approach to a film doesn’t alter because of a genre or a big banner," says Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari actress Fatima Sana Shaikh
Actress Fatima Sana Shaikh who is remembered for her impressive debut in Dangal, and was seen in Thugs of Hindostan thereafter — will be back on the screen with two big films of the year, Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari and Ludo. In the former, she plays the lead opposite Diljit Dosanjh. The story is set in the ’90s and it follows a ‘wedding detective’ who exposes the misdeeds of prospective grooms. Actor Manoj Bajpayee plays the role of the detective and Fatima plays his sister. When Manoj jeopardises Diljit’s wedding plans, the latter tries to avenge it by dating Fatima. What follows is a crazy comedy.
Fatima says although she liked the script and the stellar cast that includes stalwarts like Anu Kapoor, Supriya Pilgaonkar, Seema Pahwa, Manoj Pahwa and others, she was touched by the director’s gesture when they met for the first time. She recalls, “When I went for narration, I remember I was wearing a dress. The room was getting quite cold because of the AC. I was getting uncomfortable. Our director, Abhishek, who was wearing a jacket offered it to me. His kindness impressed me and I immediately agreed to do the film.”
The actress showcased her acting skills in serious, action-driven roles, and in Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari she plays a light-hearted middle-class girl who is also a DJ. She plays an emotional character who respects her family and at the same time defends her love, and this definitely is a shift from her previous work. However, the actress says, she doesn’t think it is much of a change. “My process doesn’t alter because of a genre or a big banner. I was keen to work in this film because of Manoj (Bajpayee) sir. I am a huge fan of him and his work. I think I am just fortunate to share the screen with such people,” she says.
Sense and sensibility
Since the film is set in Mumbai in 1995, Fatima’s and her co-actors’ looks have been created to reflect the fashion sensibilities of that era. Floral, puffed-sleeved tops, curled hair, chiffon dupattas and shiny jackets are part of her onscreen wardrobe. “I was born in the ’90s and I know people of that generation. Being part of this film was a lot of fun, there was an element of nostalgia. There was a certain simplicity, there were no dating sites. If I had to speak to a boy, I had to pull the wire of the landline to take the phone to another room and speak with him, I have done all of this. So I didn’t really prepare for the film as such!” she enthuses.
Whether it is sheer luck or her hard work and choice, Fatima has worked with the most talented actors of the industry so far in her career. She says it feels good to not only work with, but to be acknowledged by such respected names. “Manoj sir would ask for my feedback, even though I am so new. It feels good when such things happen. Diljit has a childlike quality and he gets excited about everything be it chai or shoes. He is also very funny, so it is a pleasure working with him. Although he struggled with Hindi, he would write his lines in Punjabi to understand the emotion and convey it well, and I think this earnestness and simplicity just makes him who he is,” says the actress who is looking forward to the Diwali release of the film. But before that, she is all geared up for Anubhav Sinha’s Ludo, a crime comedy.