From the adorable child artist in ‘Chachi 420’ to the essaying Geeta Phogat in ‘Dangal’ – Fatima Sana Shaikh has charmed the audience with the best entertainers. All set to spread some cheer, Fatima Sana Shaikh’s next – ‘Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari’ will see her doling out massive laughs. While she romances Diljit Dosanjh in the comedy entertainer, ace actor Manoj Bajpayee will be seen essaying the role of her brother. In a free-wheeling chat with ETimes, Fatima opened up about the movie, her camaraderie with Diljit Dosanjh and all that she learnt from Manoj Bajpayee.
Describe your character in ‘Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari’
I play the role of a Maharashtrian girl who belongs to a lower middle-class family. So basically she is a simple, gharelu ladki. She is loved by everyone in the house but she has another side to her, a secret that she hasn’t disclosed to her family. And then there is a boy who comes into her life and her brother is a detective, so it is about the trouble between these three characters.
What kind of preparation did you do for this role?
I worked on the dialect a bit with a Marathi teacher. He would come home and we would work on the dialogues. But apart from that, since it was a comedy film, you know, it was a lot of fun working with Manoj and Diljit, and the whole cast. So I had a great time. There were times when we would do a scene that was so funny and would end up laughing for atleast half-an-hour and the whole crew would be like, chalo ab bas shoot kar lo.
Any learning you took home from Manoj Bajpayee?
I’m a huge fan of Manoj sir and the body of work that he has. And for me, just being around him and working with him was what I really wanted. So I’m glad that I got to work with him. Every day was a learning with him. I would literally sit and interview him in the van. I would ask him about the scenes he has performed and the prep he did for films. I think for a person like him, who has been in the industry for so long and all of his roles have been such iconic and memorable ones, for me, just having a conversation with him and understanding where he comes from, something as simple as that, itself is a good learning. Unki baton mein hi itni kuch seekh mil jaati hai, kaam toh alag hi baat hai.
Having got firsthand experience, how would you describe him as an actor? Strict, disciplined, punctual?
He a great co-actor. He’s very punctual, respects his work and others too. When your co-actor makes the process so inclusive, it cannot get better, you don’t feel hesitant to voice your ideas or voice anything you want. He has also taught acting, so he is very relaxed and very chilled in that sense, very nonjudgmental.
Your chemistry with Diljit Dosanj is very refreshing, what should the audience expect from your camaraderie in the movie?
I think everybody already knows how funny he is and what a great personality he has and how humble and sweet he is. He is a very simple person and so excited about everything in life. So I had a great time working with him, it was very easy. He is so talented, I was literally in awe, because I saw him sitting in the van making music, cut to him coming back to the sets and writing dialogues that he thought were funny. He used to write his dialogues in Punjab and someone would translate, because he thinks in Punjabi. Unki comic timing mashallah hai.
With talent powerhouses on the sets, seems like the atmosphere was creatively charged?
Absolutely! Not only because of Manoj sir and Diljit, but we also had Manoj Pahwa, Seema Pahwa, Supriya Pilgaonkar. These people are powerhouses of acting. So the whole cast was full of creative peoples. I had a lot of confidence in the director Abhishek Sharma, in the film, in the people that I was working with because this is a genre that I am touching for the first time. For me, I was leaning on really strong people.
You also dubbed for ‘Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari’ during the pandemic, how different was the experience?
It was interesting because you can work from the comfort of your home. Actually, I like the idea of work during the pandemic, honestly. Like we are doing interviews while I am having coffee. So, isse behtar aur kya ho sakta hai?
Since the film is set against the backdrop of weddings, what are you plans?
Mere best friend ki shaadi ho rahi hai, utna hi mera view hai about weddings, to attend them. I have no intention of getting married nor do I have no intention of you seeing me walking down the aisle with someone anytime soon.