WION Web TeamNew Delhi, Delhi, IndiaJul 12, 2018, 07.13 AM (IST)Shomini Sen
It’s not yet been a week since 'Sacred Games' released on Netflix, but the series and its actors have been garnering praises from all quarters. While the show focuses on its two lead characters- Gaitonde played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Sartaj Singh played by Saif Ali Khan- a bunch of formidable actors form the supporting cast of the show. Among the supporting cast if anyone who has made heads turn with her performance it is actress Kubbra Sait.
Kubbra plays Kukkoo, a transgender bar dancer whose charms make men go weak in their knees. She is Ganesh Gaitonde's biggest weakness, the love of his life and Kubbra's pitch-perfect performance has been lauded by one and all. The actress, who made her foray into films in Salman Khan starrer 'Ready', states that she is 'overwhelmed with all the love' that’s been pouring since Friday. "I feel blessed," says Kubbra in a chat with WION.
Kubbra says she trusted her instincts when she signed on for the show. “I told my mother that my instincts say that this role and the show will change things. It is different." The actress who belongs to a small community, says she forewarned her mother about the show and her role. “She has been supportive. Has stood like a rock for my brother and me. Taken the bullet for us. I told her this time be ready to face the bazooka," laughs Kubbra.
The role not only entailed Kubbra to play a transgender character but also had graphic scenes and even full frontal nudity. Was she skeptical that the role would raise a few eyebrows? “Honestly I am not answerable to anyone other than my mother. Also, I would understand people getting shocked if I was playing a cow. But I am a human being playing another human being on screen, who has similar emotions and communicates in the same way that you and I do. So why should it raise eyebrows? So no apprehension at all." Kubbra states that the graphic scenes, including the nudity, were a part of the character she was playing onscreen. “Can a pilot say I will not fly the plane? If I am playing a bar dancer, who also sleeps with multiple people, how can I say no to such scenes then? It would be very unprofessional on my part as an actor to back out after knowing what the role entails." Kubbra though is quick to add that there was no desperation for the makers to show nudity. "The show does not show unnecessary nudity, the scenes have an emotional connect - it’s not just about lust," she adds.
Kubbra says she had blind faith in Anurag Kashyap, her director, and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, her co-star. "They are institutions in themselves. So I knew I was in good hands." Kubbra recalls that prior to filming one of her love-making scenes Kashyap told her that if she feels uncomfortable at any point, she should not show it as the entire unit would get uncomfortable. "He told me 'Come and tell me, but don't make it obvious to others because it will hamper the shooting process'. In fact, Nawaz was shyer about those scenes than me. I would jump on him, hug him before the shots and he would say 'Yeh ladki pagal hai'."
Her acting may have earned praises but many on social media have been debating that the makers should have cast a transgender actor instead of her. "The idea of watching a transgender actor perform this role is very exciting for me as a viewer. I would have personally loved that. There is no debate on this. But I as an actor was offered a spectacular role and I grabbed it without batting an eyelid. Also, I am glad that the role has at least started a discussion on the third gender and hopefully it will encourage more such people to come out in the mainstream, and I wish more such characters are written- how many transgender actors do we have in the mainstream anyway?" points out the actress.
Kubbra is a known face on screen. She is a star emcee, a TV host, has appeared in films like ‘Sultan’ and done advertisements and even participated in a beauty contest. “If you have to survive in a place like Bombay you need to do be occupied. Sanity can prevail only if you are busy in this city and I like to try different things.” Now that 'Sacred Games' has brought her so much attention, will she want to concentrate on acting only? “ I like to be happy, I like to try new things. But yes, it has definitely made me want to study the craft in a better way.”
Kubbra confesses that she is not a trained actor. “Whatever I’ve learned is because of Mukesh Chhabra, who had conducted workshops before we started shooting. In fact, I was told that I was the last option for them. Had I failed, they would had to cast a man for the role,” recalls the actress.
'Sacred Games' was adapted from a Vikram Chandra's book by the same name. Has she read it? “ The moment I signed the contract, I went to a bookshop, saw the book and opened the index to check my character. There was no mention of Kukkoo. So I called up Anurag and inquired, and he simply said, ‘don’t read the book!’” Kubbra attributes the character’s success also to the writers Varun Grover, Smita Singh and Vasant Nath, "Good writing can make so much difference to a script," she quips.
With just eight episodes in the first season and a cliff-hanger ending, most are wondering if there is going to be a second season. “Yes! ‘Sacred Games’ will have a second season but it will be out next year. They are not rushing it which I think is great,” says Kubbra as she signs off.