‘I know I’ve crossed 30’

SHE COMES from a non-filmi background, but the acting bug was almost ingrained in her. As versatile actress Shefali Shah reveals, she loved posing and getting her pictures clicked since she was a child.

Her recently acquired ‘best actress’ award at the Tokyo Film Festival for essaying the role of Kasturba Gandhi in Gandhi My Father is just another feather in her cap. And now she’s all set to set the screen ablaze again in Black and White.

You’ve tasted success with television as well as films. Which gives you greater creative satisfaction?

Let me put it this way: television is like an editorial that appears every week, if you miss seeing one episode, you won’t lose the plot, but films are like a book that is treasured, it’s something that goes down in the archives forever. The detailing and scope of films cannot be compared to the small screen.

Satya, Waqt or Gandhi My Father, which film holds a special place in your heart?

Gandhi My Father, it’s one of those few films that happen just once in a while. I’m honoured to have won the best actress award for the film at the prestigious Tokyo Film Festival. It came as a complete surprise though.

You’ve also had the chance to work opposite Amitabh Bachchan. Do you consider that an achievement in itself?

Cliched as it may sound, Amitabhji is undoubtedly one of our finest actors. But more importantly, he is a very nice human being. He treats you like an absolute equal. Moreover, it’s the sheer pleasure of seeing him perform live that spurs you on. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that I’d share screen space with Mr Bachchan one day.

Vipul Shah the director versus Vipul Shah the husband.

As a director, Vipul is like the captain of the ship, he assumes responsibility for everything, yet, never loses focus on the film he’s making. He relies on himself for everything. As a husband, he shares all his dreams and expectations with me.

Do you think you’ve got a raw deal as an actress?

See, I’m realistic, I know I’ve crossed 30 and I don’t expect to be offered prime lead roles. But on the other hand, I think I’m very lucky, because today, there are a lot of real films with real characters being made. For instance, I played the lead in Gandhi My Father, but it wasn’t the conventional lead where the heroine has to run around trees. Similarly, in Monsoon Wedding, every character was a lead. So there are a lot more opportunities for actresses of my age today, instead of just playing the role of a mother. I’m glad I’m in the industry at a time when the horizon is much wider.

So is there a dream role you’re waiting for?

I’d love to do love stories. Something like Madison County. I don’t want to categorise myself, I want to do everything.

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