Living fearlessly

Living fearlessly

different Take

Living fearlessly

It is easy to recall her as the rebellious hockey player from Chak De! India. But after talking to her, one realises that there is much more to the real Shilpa Shukla than just being a great on-screen rebel.

All set to be referred to as Sarika onscreen, the actress shares some candid confessions about finding a career in films and living in a fearless zone.

Daughter of an Income Tax officer, Shilpa was born in Bihar and spent her childhood in different states. “I never knew of a film career because at home we used to get the newspaper without an entertainment supplement. Going to a cinema hall to watch a film was a luxury till dad got transferred to Delhi as commissioner.”

Once in Delhi, theatre came calling. “Theatre opened a world of themes and emotions. It helped me channelise my energy and grow mentally. When M K Raina selected me for a role, it was therapeutic because I was straight out of a government school and not at all good in English. It gave me skill and craft,” which came in handy when she auditioned for Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi.

“Hazaaron... was my first film but it released after Khamosh Paani. So, it was only when I saw a crowd of 3000 breaking a door to watch Khamosh Paani, I realised that acting in films is a career!”

The rest is history as she shifted to Mumbai and within six months bagged a meaty role in Chak De! India as Bindiya Naik. However, after the buzz around Chak De! India subsided, Shilpa didn’t get anything exciting and then the documentary “Rajuben (on the life of a woman gangster) happened.” Anurag (Kashyap) was its creative head and he offered her a role in Gangs of Wasseypur which Shilpa refused since she “didn’t want to be an angry woman anymore. So, Richa played that part. It was mutual as Richa is a friend. In fact, Richa was offered B. A. Pass initially,” Shilpa reveals.

Shilpa was hooked to the script of B. A. Pass and after completing it, she went to her mother in the kitchen and asked, “Will you disown me if I do something like this?” Her mother turned around and laughed. And when she told her father, “Papa thoda bold role hai,’ all he advised was, ‘You have to take the risk’. I will never forget those words since that was his last advice to me.”

And since her father’s demise last year, Shilpa has been living in a “no fear zone.”
But what made her play Sarika in upcoming B. A. Pass was her curiosity about “these women in Delhi,” she says sheepishly.

“Instead of looking at the market, I look at myself. It helps to not get adulterated and approach the way I feel like. For whosoever is watching the film, the woman Sarika will remain in their imagination. She is so intoxicating. Ajay (Bahl, director B. A. Pass) visualised me in this role,” she explains hoping that she will inspire, “directors of new wave of cinema to write,” roles for her! Hoping so, too!