‘Our friend­ship made it pos­si­ble for us to be there for each other’

DNA (Daily News & Analysis) Mumbai Edition - - FRONT PAGE -

What kind of re­ac­tions did you get after the trailer launch?

M: Ini­tially, only my fam­ily and friends were re­act­ing. Later, we went through the com­ments on­line. And it felt great. I got a good re­sponse from ev­ery­one. Even peo­ple from the in­dus­try called and said en­cour­ag­ing things. z It’s not an av­er­age new­comer promo; there’s a lot of emo­tion. So, you were re­quired to come up to a cer­tain level?

M: While mak­ing the film, San­jay sir and direc­tor Mangesh Hadawale said, never think that it’s your de­but, think as if it’s your 10th movie.

S: Peo­ple have said stuff like, ‘It’s not like a SLB film.’ ‘Bikhar­ion ke Ran­veer, Priyanka, am­iron ke ghar se..’ You have to be like Priyanka Cho­pra and you have to be like Ran­veer Singh. San­jay sir has set those ex­pec­ta­tions and pushed us to try and reach there. We know we are not there, but we might get there. Mangesh sir be­lieves he’s launch­ing Aastha and Shivam (our char­ac­ters in the film). San­jay sir is like I’m launch­ing Sharmin and Meezaan. That’s the dis­tinc­tion be­tween them and their ap­proaches in mak­ing our ca­reer, push­ing us to do our best in their own re­spec­tive ways.

M: It’s the per­fect bal­ance of the best of both worlds.

S: Till 17, I was like mu­jhe doc­tor banna hai. Then I switched to do­ing theatre in school. San­jay sir was like yeh kar payegi ki nahin... I didn’t know how to do makeup, hair.. that is the knowl­edge San­jay sir shared with me. He is known to launch hero­ines. He was like, you can’t look like that, be­ing my niece and now try­ing to be­come an ac­tor.

M: He boosted our con­fi­dence. He told us, ‘I be­lieve in you, so you should be­lieve in your­self.’

S: San­jay sir re­ally pushed us a lot... Hope­fully, it trans­lates.. z It will. That’s how it goes.. S: It can be a lit­tle scary be­cause any­thing creative like art is highly sub­jec­tive. You can’t have just one opin­ion. You don’t have any idea what the ac­cep­tance level is go­ing to be. It’s re­ally daunt­ing. But that’s the path that will make you strive, work harder and ex­pect less too..

M: Also, the prob­lem is that here, a lot of peo­ple judge the book by its cover. So, they should wait and watch the movie. Then, I will be more than wel­come to take crit­i­cism.

S: I want the au­di­ences to see my first film, so that I know where I have to work to meet the ex­pec­ta­tions of the au­di­ence. z Sharmin, why do you call him San­jay sir and not ‘Mama’?

S: I worked with him as an AD on Ba­ji­rao Mas­tani. But that’s not the rea­son. I call him sir even when we’re sit­ting to­gether for a fam­ily din­ner. At the age of four, I used to watch Dev­das at the tri­als. I didn’t un­der­stand any­thing as I was a kid. But after I worked with him on Ba­ji­rao Mas­tani, I had new­found re­spect for him. Since then, I’ve been call­ing him sir. z Speak­ing of age, Meezaan and you are al­most the same age?

S: We’re like 14 days apart and we’re friends for­ever.. M: We were in school to­gether..

S: He used to date my best friend and make fun of me for be­ing fat. z That’s not true, is it Meezaan?

M: That was my in­di­rect way of mo­ti­vat­ing her. See, it has worked. She’s per­fect to­day. z How well-versed are the two of you in Hindi cinema?

M: I’m obsessed.

S: He is more obsessed than me. As a kid, ev­ery Fri­day, I was like, I have to go to the theatre, which­ever film it may be, whether it has a big star or not... I’d go for the 9 pm show... I would take who­ever was at home with me, whether it was my grand­mother or my staff. I was not al­lowed to go alone as a kid.. When I was in col­lege, I used to go alone in New York... z What is your favourite genre in cinema?

M: When it comes to Bol­ly­wood, it’s drama, romance and com­edy.

S: Court­room drama. z Who are your favourite film­mak­ers?

M: Apart from San­jay Leela Bhansali’s films, I love Yash Cho­pra’s movies. Those are the films I re­ally con­nect to, like Veer-zaara (2004). I like it when it has a mu­si­cal al­bum. I liked Zindagi Na Mi­legi Do­bara, Dil Chahta Hai. I watch a lot of Priyadar­shan’s films when I’m bored; es­pe­cially those with Ak­shay Ku­mar, Su­niel Shetty and Paresh Rawal. I love those.

S: I don’t know in what genre can you cat­e­gorise Zoya Akhtar’s movies. She is in her own league. I want to have that Farhan Akhtarpriy­anka Cho­pra re­la­tion­ship from Dil Dhadakne Do. There’s a cute en­ergy go­ing on. I love the old films of Sal­man Khan, Shah Rukh Khan and Saif Ali Khan.

M: With me, for some rea­son, I mem­o­rise the di­a­logue. S: When we were in school, Meezaan and his friends had learnt the di­a­logue of Wel­come. And their re­sponses to any­thing any­one said was a Wel­come di­a­logue. I was like, I don’t un­der­stand you.

M: I have re­cited Wel­come to Anees Bazmee and chal­lenged him that I know the script bet­ter than him. z Who’s a bet­ter dancer be­tween the two of you?

S: He is much bet­ter than me. I’ve de­cided to work on my awk­ward­ness. z Which SLB song do you ad­mire?

S: Pinga. In our movie, there is a song in which I’m wear­ing a nine-yard sari. While film­ing it, I would con­stantly think about Pinga be­cause we had shot it over 10 days. Priyanka’s feet were bruised. I thought to my­self I need to work a lot harder to get to that level and de­liver. Both PC and Deepika (Padukone) put in a lot of hard work into their per­for­mances. z Has the equa­tion be­tween the two of you changed from school to be­ing co-ac­tors?

S: We’ve changed so much. We grad­u­ated in 2013 and started work­ing to­gether in 2018...There are 100 peo­ple on the set. You’re ex­pected to de­liver in the space.. Some­where, our friend­ship made it pos­si­ble for us to be there for each other and feel com­fort­able in that space. There were times when I wanted to cry. Meezaan helped me.

M: You are so busy do­ing your work that you don’t have time for friends. When you are shoot­ing, you lose con­nec­tion with not only your close pals but also your fam­ily. After the shoot, I would go home and sleep.

S: I was so used to leav­ing home at 7 am and re­turn­ing at 11 pm, since the time I used to work as an AD that I wouldn’t see any­one for days. We shot Malaal for a year-and-a-half. Peo­ple on the set be­come your friends. She wasn’t priv­i­leged be­cause she is SLB’S niece. S: I’m an un­der-con­fi­dent per­son. I will get un­com­fort­able with en­ti­tle­ment. z Are you tired or ex­hil­a­rated with all the hec­tic pro­mo­tional ac­tiv­ity? M: Not re­ally. I know how im­por­tant this one month is. I just want to give my ex­tra 1,000 per cent now. I know if I don’t do it, no one will. I have to go out of my way to get things done. For me, it’s not my film alone, it’s ev­ery­one’s film.

S: I’ve not done this be­fore. I haven’t shown you my work, yet. But this is my space. So, I am like, when the trailer is out or when the song is out, then tell me how you think I am. I don’t know mid­dle ground.

M: I be­lieve in all-out pro­mo­tion, that’s my view.

S: He is more con­fi­dent of putting him­self out there. I’m not.

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