Fatima Sana Shaikh in 'Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari' Photograph:( Instagram )
Fatima Sana Shaikh Interview: In an exclusive chat with WION, 'Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari' actress Fatima Sana Shaikh spoke on the filming experience and her hopes from the movie amid the pandemic.
‘Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari’ is up for release on November 15 in theatres in India, one of the few films that will see a theatrical release amid cinema hall shutdowns induced by the coronavirus pandemic. Starring Manoj Bajpayee, Diljit Dosanjh, Fatima Sana Shaikh in pivotal roles, the comedy flick promises to be a fun ride for those looking for a light-weight family entertainer for Diwali weekend binge.
In a candid conversation with the film’s lead actress, Fatima Sana Shaikh spoke on expectations from the film and more.
WION: How was the filming experience of ‘Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari’?
Fatima: I was really excited to begin with. These are the people I look up to for their work. I really love Manoj sir’s work. I love all his roles. I used to have a fangirl moment whenever I was on set.
WION: How did you get into the skin of your character, Tulsi?
Fatima: I was learning on set. I think Manoj sir, infact would have gotten sick of me as I kept taking his interview on the set, how he did something in some film of his but honestly it was great fun. Diljit is also a sweetheart. He’s always excited and passionate about his work. He’s never sitting idle. He’s either making music or writing something when not acting. He’s constantly active. It was great to be surrounded by such people. Read the film's review here.
WION: What are you taking back from the set of ‘Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari’?
Fatima: The experience. I am also taking back relationships that I made on the set.
WION: How was it working on a comedy film?
Fatima: Every film is different. I remember when we would shoot for ‘Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari’, there were times when we would do something funny while giving our scenes that would end up in all of us sharing the laughs. This would happen a lot. After a point of time, director Abhishek had to tell us to cut it off and work. He would say ‘I understand that we are doing a comedy film but that's it, we have to make a film’.
WION: Your other film ‘Ludo’ also released on the same weekend as ‘Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari’. What can you tell about this project?
Fatima: You ask this question to any of the actors associated with the film and they say the same, that they have no idea of what they have done in the film. That's how Anurag Basu dada (the director) works. He will never give you a script. Everybody is as clueless as the other person but that's the beauty of his films. That’s how he creates magic. I personally love every film of his -- be it ‘Jagga Jasoos’. I think everybody who's a part of the film is because of him. No one has the script so why would you sign up for a film -- because it’s Basu’s film.
WION: How do you choose projects to be a part of?
Fatima: I do not have a particular way of picking films. I go by my instinct by and large. There are times when I want to work with a particular director, times when I like a particular script. I think these two things majorly. ‘Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari’ was all three -- cast, director and script. ‘Ludo’ was because of the director.
WION: How do you as an actor deal with failures especially after your big-ticket film ‘Thugs of Hindostan’ crashed?
Fatima: It is difficult when a film doesn't do well but that would be with anything if you put your heart and soul into a project and it does not do well then it does break you. But at the same time it's taken years to get into this industry so you don't let one fall break you or stop you from chasing your dreams. That's what it was for me. I will keep going.
WION: You have been a part of the film industry since you were a kid, as a child artist. What has kept you going?
Fatima: Pure love for the cinema. I love acting. There could be no other reason to keep going.
WION: Which do you prefer -- Films or Web/TV series?
Fatima: Both require work. They are all about experimentation. I want to be a part of everything.
WION: Anything you have seen in the recent past that you would recommend people to watch?
Fatima: I recently saw ‘Gali Guleiyan’ which is Manoj sir’s film. It's a great film. I am watching a show called ‘This Is Us’. I’m a slow watcher.
WION: Filmmakers you want to work with?
Fatima: Raju Hirani, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Dibakar Banerjee, Nitesh Tiwari again, Anurag Basu again.