Meher Vij is an Indian film and television actress, who has mainly played cameos and supporting roles. She also has popular television shows like Kis Desh Mein Hai Meraa Dil and Ram Milaayi Jodi to her credit. She has worked in films such as Dil Vil Pyaar Vyaar (Punjabi film 2014), Ardaas (Punjabi film 2016), and in Bollywood films was seen in Lucky: No Time for Love (2005), Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015), and recently was seen in Secret Superstar (2017) in role of Najma.
How did Secret Superstar happen to you?
After Bajrangi Bhaaijaan I got a message from Advait in morning at around 8:30 saying that this is Advait Chandan and am making a film with Aamir Khan Productions where I’d like to cast you for the role of one of the protagonists and I would love to meet you regarding that and I didn’t believe it as I thought that someone’s playing a prank on me and I lied and said that I am not in town and will come back tomorrow. I just thought that let me just take it in easily as it has always been my dream to work with Aamir Khan Productions so I couldn’t believe it. So then I met him next day where he narrated the story to me and I said that please give me 2 days and I’ll get back to you. Then I went home and discussed it with my husband and close friends and they all said that you would be stupid if you just let it go and that same day I messaged Advait that I’d do this film and would give my 200% for the same.
How did you go about for preparing yourself for this role in film?
Preparing I don’t know as such but yes we did a lot of readings for the same where I tried to understand Advait’s point of view regarding what he wanted as this was a very difficult and a complex character for me and the inspiration for the same came from my mom to me as she was the closest person I had in my life and I lost her to cancer and I don’t have her in my life anymore now. Also I didn’t follow anyone and just followed Advait. A lot of inspiration, body language and nuances for my character in film came from my mother to me so Advait and my mom both of them were the reasons why I could pull this character off very smoothly and effortlessly as well as I didn’t think I could have done this without both of them.
During shoot of film off screen were you chilling around with everyone?
Yes off screen after shots I was having a gala time, blast and ball with everyone on the sets. There’s no switch on and switch off for me but yes during the shooting when they say take I am something else as at that point of time I am in my character but no I didn’t have to be in that loop or that zone.
Your character was such that we could instantly connect ourselves with it right from first scene itself so how much credit do you give to writing and yourself?
To be very frank I will not take the credit since it was the writing that was so fantabulous and direction was also very amazing so credit actually goes to Advait for creating all this as he could see the film in totality and I could not as I was just going with the flow having no idea as to what we were actually making. We were making a selfless sentiments film but didn’t know as to what I was doing so he could really see everything in totality so credit really just goes to Advait, Aamir Sir and Kiran Mam as Mam was very helpful since she helped me so many times and Aamir Sir enacted my scenes for me to understand as to how should I enact my character in film so it was incredible and I can’t really take the credit at all.
In the film there were some scenes where you had no dialogues yet your expressions were so incredible that we had tears in our eyes so how did you go about in those scenes?
I think the readings have helped me a lot in that case for those scenes in film as the readings were done so nicely where we were narrated everything so clearly and concisely too. I remember that when I used to come for readings at the office I had a sudden recollection and nostalgia hit me hard as I felt like I am going back to school where every day we got to learn something new so from readings I got to learn Advait’s and Aamir Sir’s point of view as to how and in what way did they wanted and envisioned the character to shape up like.
In Bajrangi and now in Secret Superstar in both films you’re playing mother roles so don’t you think that now you’ll be typecast in these type of roles in films?
No I don’t think that I’ll get typecast in the same type of roles which I’ve don’t till now as even the audiences have become very smart, sensible and mentally expanded a lot as if one plays a psychopath doesn’t mean that he or she’s a psycho as they are playing characters where we’ve to create different characters as if someone plays a mother it doesn’t mean that she’s only capable of playing a mother on screen in films as I might play psycho and do comedy films in future films too where you’d love me and be surprised so that side has to be explored for sure.
You’ve also done Punjabi films and now into bollywood films so which is more difficult for you like Punjabi film or a bollywood film?
Yes I’ve done a Punjabi film called ‘’Ardaas’’ which had fantabulously well in Punjabi cinema so that was easy since I know how to speak Punjabi very fluently but I’ll tell you that my most difficult, complex and challenging role till date in bollywood films has been in Secret Superstar as Najma.
What’s the difference of the way of treating the films between Kabir and Advait?
I think that Advait has treated the film in a very realistic zone and Kabir’s film was a little bit more commercial than this and also Advait has not treated the mother in a very clichéd manner as here the mother is very friendly with her kids in film not like olden times where the mother used to be crying and beating her chest and all that stuff. Advait has not shown beating scene in film as he said that it’s not required as just by seeing Zaira’s reaction in that scene audiences could feel and imagine that how worse it could be so he’s treated it in not a very scary and humiliating way but it’s a very realistic and today’s film and Bajrangi was a very commercial film and not that much realistic like Secret Superstar was.
How was film fraternity’s reaction at Diwali party for your performance in film?
Everyone’s reaction at Diwali party for my performance in film was like all were just praising me and giving me huge compliments about me being a very brilliant actress and a natural actor which I don’t think that am sure about so I think that it’s their perception of me in the film.
How was your family and friend’s reaction after watching your performance in the film?
They were calling me and literally giving me bad words because I made them cry so much and that is best part as when people actually cried at the screenings we laughed and so they’ve been giving me bad words saying that if you ever say that you’re a bad actor then we’d just kill you.
By Vrinda Mundara.