It is a dream for any actress be it new or established to work one day with Sanjay Leela Bhansali. But not everyone gets to live that dream. But Sharmin Segal is that lucky girl who got to work with Sanjay in her debut film itself, ‘Malaal’ after having assisted him in films like ‘Mary Kom’ and ‘Bajirao Mastani’. In an exclusive conversation with CineSpeaks, Sharmin spoke her heart out on the film,his relationship with Sanjay, importance of working as an AD and much more…
Q) Tell us something about your character.
Sharmin – The name of my character is Astha and it is about how the two fall in love. Shiva is a rowdy character who has no softness or compassion whereas Ashta is pretty much the opposite. It is about how her behavior towards Shiva brings a change in him that he himself never thought would happen in him. It is always the case when people are in love. For a girl, love is a very emotional thing and a lot more than just physical attraction and when people are in love, they see things in their partner which they themselves can’t see.. So it is a lot about how Shiva’s behaviour eventually changes towards Astha.
Q) So do you relate this film in any way with your own experience or your own life?
Sharmin – Yes, I connect to the story. I don’t really connect personally with Sharmin’s character but I connect to the story. Besides, the feeling and emotion of love is really so universal that people connect. The feeling of love or the capacity to love doesn’t depend on one’s childhood..Irrespective of anything, love is the same. There are so many people who are just hungry for any kind of love that comes their way and I think it is so beautiful.
Q) Is there anything from Astha’s character that you want to adapt?
Sharmin – Yes and that is to talk less. (Laughs) I keep on talking whereas she doesn’t open her mouth much. Although in the second half, she does and one would understand the difference when they see the movie. But yes, it will be talking less.
Q) You got to work with Sanjay Leela Bhansali in your debut film itself. There are so many established actors who are literally dying to work with him. That must be great right?
Sharmin – You know what, I tell this to myself everyday. As a director, he pushes you beyond your capacity which can frustrate you at times but then he is doing that for you. There are so many who want to work with him. I am a privileged one. ‘Matlab ki ek toh pehla film with SLB upar se how can I not do things. I am a nobody now. He pushes you as an individual which is so lovely.
Q) How is your bond with him as an uncle and as Sanjay Leela Bhansali the director?
Sharmin – Okay as an uncle, the bond has been since years since I was about 4.I used to be in his office and scream ‘Carry Me’ …. Carry me.’ I used to be there on the sets. After the age of 10, I kind of got detached from films. But at 17,I watched ‘Devdas’ and I realized then the impact of Sanjay Leela Bhansali and his contribution to Hindi Cinema. To extract things out of the Raj Kapoor era and make that in 2001 and that too without vfx, it isn’t easy but he was always so spot on about everything that he did. Then a year later, I worked with him in ‘Bajirao Mastani’ where I understood how magnanimous he is. I was a little worried for him because he hadn’t worked shooting those war sequences and all. But he would do everything so perfectly and my respect grew even more for him and he became Sanjay sir for me. Uncle will always be there and it will be a part of us but that moment made it Sanjay sir for me.
Q) How many films have you assisted him in?
Sharmin – I have assisted in ‘Mary Kom’. I was 18 when school ended and within a month, I assisted him in ‘Mary Kom’. The even ‘Bajirao Mastani. I wanted to be a doctor initially but then stage and all happened and the desire to become an actor came from wanting to live multiple lives in one life. And frankly speaking, I didn’t feel I had the ‘aukaat’ to even stand beside Sanjay Leela Bhansali as an AD without having proper knowledge. So those were good experiences for me.
Q) So you don’t want to become a doctor anymore?
Sharmin – Hahaha log mar jayenge. I am happy with acting as the passion has exploded and with Sanjay sir around, it is only growing. I am inspired when I watch Sanjay sir work.
Q) There are many others who made their debut last year, Janhvi, Sara and recently Ananya. Do you feel any sense of competition?
Sharmin – See, competition isn’t a bad thing. What matters is how someone utilizes it and makes it a positive thing. It is fine as long as there’s healthy competition. Like for example, me and Janhvi went to the same acting school and we also gym together. She works a lot harder in the gym than I do. She wanted to be an actor a long time before me and hence it was kinda in her since always. I get motivated when I workout with her. For me, if someone is working better than me, I rather like to treat it as a motivation rather than competition so that even I can do better than what I did last. That’s how it works in my mind.
Q) Lastly, your actors and directors on that list with whom you want to work next?
Sharmin – There are many. For me, I just want to act and as long as the person is a little nice and positive, it can be anyone. But personally I would say Ranbir Kapoor, Ranveer Singh and Varun Dhawan. Ranveer, I have seen him work in ‘Bajirao Mastani’ and I feel working with him will help me work better and Ranbir and Varun are too cute and funny. As per the directors, it’s going to be Sanjay Leela Bhansali again, Anurag Kashyap, Zoya Akhtar and Vishal Bharadwaj.
BY SUBHOJIT GHOSH.