A popular child actor in the 1990s, Fatima Sana Shaikh had her big breakthrough role in Aamir Khan’s Dangal (2016). Since then, she has gone from strength to strength, accepting roles which exhibit her talent in diverse subjects. The actor was recently seen in Ajeeb Dastaans, which premiered on Netflix. In a candid conversation with Nikita Saha, the young actor opens up about how the lockdown is affecting her and discusses her work on the OTT platforms.
Suraj Pe Mangal Bhaari will always be remembered as the first film to release in cinemas after the first lockdown opened. How was the experience of working on it?
(Chuckles) Yes, I’m aware that it was the first movie to come out in the theatres after the first lockdown was lifted. I’m glad that things weren’t as bad at that time which is why we could go ahead with the theatrical release.
I had a great time working with Abhishek (Sharma, Director), Diljit (Dosanjh), Manoj Bajpai. I thoroughly enjoyed working with all the stalwarts and it was an amazing experience. And though everything is shut right now, I still look forward to working with all of them yet again sometime in future.
Cinema halls have taken the biggest hit due to Covid. But your film managed to get a theatrical release. How did that feel?
It has been a long time now since my film was released and it did make me happy back then. But now I feel it would be irresponsible to have a theatrical release for any film as we are in the midst of a deadly second wave of Covid-19. In a time when people are struggling for their lives given the shortage of hospital beds and oxygen tanks, we cannot afford to have any social gatherings at any cost.
Back then, things were not so bad and had started improving a bit. So, I felt good about my movie releasing in the theatres as it was a novelty. After a long time span, a movie had released in the cinema theatres. However, now I wouldn’t be in its favour.
What are your memories of going to the movies as a child?
Oh, I have some amazing memories. For me what sealed the deal were the caramel and cheese popcorn, samosa and coke, which we would go out to collect during the intermission, which was the best part of the movie. I remember my mother used to love taking us out to the cinemas. It was nothing short of a festival for us as we would dress up in our best outfits, be excited for that tub of popcorn and the big screen!
I believe every child has countless memories of going to the theatres, smelling the popcorn, and revelling in the wholesome experience.
Which was the movie that left the biggest impression on you?
Well, there have been many. Taare Zameen Par, 3 Idiots, Article 15, Margarita with a Straw to name a few.
Sometimes it so happens that we take so many things lightly in life. We either tend to overlook them or take them for granted. So, when we happen to watch the same enacted in a movie, we actually internalise it. For instance, offering water to our help in a glass of steel is so demeaning. And we understand this only after its showcased in a certain manner in a film. It then jolts us out of our reality which we had been living for so long. It’s like a slap on the face which makes us realize the wrong we had been doing till now.
So, there are many movies that have moved me and left a lasting impact on my mind.
Currently, it’s the OTT platforms on which all the action is happening!
I would say that since with OTT platforms, we are able to carry our entertainment with us in our pocket, it has definitely changed the whole ball game. Consumption of entertainment has become much easier and more convenient with OTT platforms that can be watched on our smartphones, iPads, and laptops, especially during the pandemic when we can’t step out. So yes, the entertainment landscape has undergone a revolutionary change, thanks to the rise of OTT.