India felt like home, says Sajal Aly of shooting her first film in Bollywood2,112 views
With her Pakistani cinematic debut, Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hai just around the corner, Sajal Aly is also gearing up for her big Bolly debut this fall.
By now we can see that this young Chup Raho famed actress is probably one of the busiest actors of our fraternity. Having had proved her mettle as an actor par excellence; Sajal Aly has just recently wrapped up most of the shooting spells for her Bollywood film, Mom.
And to find out what makes Sajal one of the most in-demand and desirable faces of the nation, we got hold of the actor who defines youth and zeal. In conversation with Images, the actor opens up about her forthcoming cinematic ventures.
Images: Why did you choose to make your cinematic debut with a non-commercial film, wasn’t that a risky decision?
Sajal Aly: Well, Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hai is an intense romantic film but I wouldn’t call it non-commercial. It caters to all audiences. I think it’s a very different film, and you never know what works. Udta Punjab, for instance, was a film that dealt with drug abuse across the border, but ended up doing really well. So to me, entertainment doesn’t necessarily mean light-hearted comedy extravaganzas. There’s entertainment in art and drama as well.
It’s actually about how you engage your audiences and grip their attention, it’s about how well the story is executed and the actors have performed. I play a character that I’ve never portrayed so far and I’m keeping my fingers crossed. At this stage, I don’t think we can predict a film’s success or failure, but I strongly believe that we must introduce all sorts of genres to take local cinema forward.
Images: Tell us a bit about ZKHH and your role as Mahira in the film.
SA: Starting off with my character, I play a very multi-layered woman; she has a lot of facets to her personality. She is somebody who can go to any extent to secure her relationships. She’s very passionate about her loved ones, very emotional, but at the same time she’s a very strong, independent woman who is trying to chase her dreams.
The film as a whole is about how our youngsters these days are very jazbaati, and they believe everything will turn out fine, whereas that’s not the case.ZKHH narrates the journey of two people who get married and eventually end up facing hurdles in life with what they wanted from it. It’s a modern-day contemporary subject that addresses how our youth deal with their relationships and goals.
Images: How was your experience working across the border on Mom?
SA: It was a beautiful experience working on Mom. The respect and appreciation that I have received is simply amazing, especially from all my co-stars, producers, director – it was just very overwhelming. To give your best, you need to build up a comfort level on set, and that is something that everybody helped in developing. It was a learning experience that still continues, there’s some work left for which I’ll be travelling to India in September.
Images: Did you feel any sort of pressure while shooting alongside Sridevi in the film?
SA: Well, yes, there was a lot of pressure. In fact, my first time scene was with Sridevi ma’am, and before we shot for that, I was very scared, [reserved], frightened, but after we were done with it, I asked her how it went. And she smiled and gave me thumbs up, that was such a warm moment. She made me feel very comfortable and relaxed. She is undoubtedly a living legend and the way she helped me adjust to the surroundings was just incredible.
My family and I are huge fans of hers and we had always seen her look beautiful on screen, but she’s one of those very few people who are simply beautiful inside out. I never knew such a huge star could be so humble and down to earth. I can simply go on and on about the journey that I’ve had with her.
Images: Did you get to meet any of your fans across the border who have seen you on Zee Zindagi?
SA: Yes, I indeed did. I got to meet a lot of my fans in India and they were all praises for our dramas and our content. People used to come up for pictures when I used to be at the mall. Once a Punjabi aunty wanted me to visit her house, and once I was having dinner somewhere when a huge Sikh family came up for pictures. And it felt amazing. It felt like home. Not only the industry, but the people were very warm and welcoming as well. On a whole, it feels great to have a vast market for our serials, and to be able to represent your country in the truest of sense.
Images: What made you sign Mom and what can all of your fans from Pakistan expect from it?
SA: I think the script was the main reason I felt the desire to do this film. The cast was also amazing, I am a fan of Akshaye Khanna and knowing the fact that he is making his comeback with the film, I got even more excited. Apart from this… I have always had certain limitations. I’ve never wanted to become a showpiece or look glamorous in a rom-com film, even in Pakistan. I only do projects that give me a margin to perform.
And with Bollywood, I wanted to prove myself and tell them that we are capable of a lot more and we know how to represent our country. Mom is also one of those films which I think are more character driven. Everybody has their own bit and importance in the plot. Sridevi, I, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Akshaye Khanna, and Adnan Siddiqui also happens to play a very strong character, and he has done an exceptional job.